You appear to me, my good friend Timocrates, to be a man of Cyrene, according to the Tyndareus of Alexis—
For there if any man, invites anotherAnd it would be better for me also to hold my tongue, and not to add anything more to all that has been said already; but since you ask me very earnestly for a discussion on those men who have been notorious for luxury, and on their effeminate practices, you must be gratified.
To any banquet, eighteen others come;
Ten chariots, and fifteen pairs of horses,
And for all these you must provide the food,
So that 'twere better to invite nobody
For enjoyment is connected, in the first instance, with appetite; and in the second place, with pleasure. And Sophocles the poet, being a man fond of enjoyment, in order to avoid accusing old age, attributed his impotence in amatory pleasures to his temperance, saying that he was glad to be released from them as from some hard master. But I say that the Judgment of Paris is a tale originally invented by the 'ancients, as a comparison between pleasure and virtue. Accordingly, when Venus, that is to say pleasure, was preferred, everything was thrown into confusion. And that excellent writer Xenophon seems to me to have invented his fable about Hercules and Virtue on the same principle. For according to Empedocles—
Mars was no god to them, nor gallant War,[p. 819] And Menander, in his Harp-player, speaking of some one who was very fond of music, says—
Nor Jupiter the king, nor Saturn old,
Nor Neptune; Venus was their only queen.
Her they propitiate and duly worship
With pious images, with beauteous figures
Skilfully carved; with fragrant incenses,
And holy offerings of unmix'd myrrh,
And sweetly smelling frankincense; and many. .
A pure libation of fresh golden honey
They pour'd along the floor.
He was to music much devoted, and
Sought ever pleasing sounds to gratify
His delicate taste.
And yet some people say that the desire of pleasure is a natural desire, as may be proved by all animals becoming enslaved by it; as if cowardice, and fear, and all sorts of other passions were not also common to all animals, and yet these are rejected by all who use their reason. Accordingly, to be very eager in the pursuit of pleasure is to go hunting for pain. On which account Homer, wishing to represent pleasure in an odious light, says that the greatest of the gods receive no advantage from their power, but are even much injured by it, if they will allow themselves to be hurried away by the pursuit of pleasure. For all the anxiety which Jupiter, when awake, lavished on the Trojans, was lost in open day, when he abandoned himself to pleasure. And Mars, who was a most valiant deity, was put in chains by Vulcan, who was very powerless, and incurred great disgrace and punishment, when he had given himself up to irrational love; and therefore he says to the Gods, when they came to see him in fetters—
Behold, on wrongBut no one ever calls the life of Aristides a life of pleasure (ἡδὺς), but that is an epithet they apply to Smindyrides the Sybarite, and to Sardanapalus, though as far as glory went, as Theophrastus says in his book on Pleasure, it was a far more splendid one; but Aristides never devoted himself to luxury as those other men did. Nor would any one call the life of Agesilaus the king of the Lacedæmonians ἡδύς; but this name they would apply rather to the life of Ananis, a man who, as far as real glory is concerned, is totally unknown. Nor would one call the life of the heroes who fought [p. 820] against Troy ἡδύς; but they would speak in that way much more of the men of the present time; and naturally enough. For the lives of those men were destitute of any luxurious preparation, and, as I might almost say, had no seasoning to them, inasmuch as at that time there was no commercial intercourse between nations, nor were the arts of refinement carried to any degree of accuracy; but the life of men of the present day is planned with entire reference to laziness, and enjoyment, and to all sorts of pastimes.
Swift vengeance waits, and art subdues the strong.
Dwells there a god on all th' Olympian brow
More swift than Mars, and more than Vulcan slow?
Yet Vulcan conquers, and the God of arms
Must pay the penalty for lawless charms.1
But Plato, in his Philebus, says—“Pleasure is the most insolent of all things; and, as it is reported, in amatory enjoyments, which are said to be the most powerful of all, even perjury has been pardoned by the Gods, as if pleasure was like a child, incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong.” And in the eighth book of his Polity, the same Plato has previously dilated upon the doctrine so much pressed by the Epicureans, that, of the desires, some are natural but not necessary, and others neither natural nor necessary, writing thus—“Is not the desire to eat enough for health and strength of body, and for bread and meat to that extent, a necessary desire?—I think it is.—At all events, the desire for food for these two purposes is necessary, inasmuch as it is salutary, and inasmuch as it is able to remove hunger? —No doubt.—And the desire for meat, too, is a necessary desire, if it at all contributes to a good habit of body?— Most undoubtedly.—What, then, are we to say? Is no desire which goes beyond the appetite for this kind of food, and for other food similar to it, and which, if it is checked in young people, can be entirely stifled, and which is injurious also to the body, and injurious also to the mind, both as far as its intellectual powers are concerned, and also as to its temperance, entitled to be called a necessary one?—Most certainly not.”
But Heraclides of Pontus, in his treatise on Pleasure, speaks as follows—“Tyrants and kings, having all kinds of good things in their power, and having had experience of all things, place pleasure in the first rank, on the ground that pleasure makes the nature of man more magnanimous. Accordingly, all those who have honoured pleasure above everything, and who have deliberately chosen to live a life of luxury, have been magnanimous and magnificent people, as, [p. 821] for instance, the Medes and the Persians. For they, of all men, are those who hold pleasure and luxury in the highest honour; and they, at the same time, are the most valiant and magnanimous of all the barbarians. For to indulge in pleasure and luxury is the conduct of freeborn men and of a liberal disposition. For pleasure relaxes the soul and invigorates it. But labour belongs to slaves and to mean men; on which account they are contracted in their natural dispositions. And the city of the Athenians, while it indulged in luxury, was a very great city, and bred very magnanimous men. For they wore purple garments, and were clad in embroidered tunics; and they bound up their hair in knots, and wore golden grasshoppers over their foreheads and in their hair: and their slaves followed them, bearing folding chairs for them, in order that, if they wished to sit down, they might not be without some proper seat, and forced to put up with any chance seat. And these men were such heroes, that they conquered in the battle of Marathon, and they alone worsted the power of combined Asia. And all those who are the wisest of men, and who have the greatest reputation for wisdom, think pleasure the greatest good, Simonides certainly does when he says—
For what kind of human lifeAnd Pindar, giving advice to Hiero the tyrant of Syracuse, says—
Can be worth desiring,
If pleasure be denied to it?
What kingly power even?
Without pleasure e'en the gods
Have nothing to be envied for.
Never obscure fair pleasure in your life;And Homer, too, speaks of pleasure and indulgence in the following terms—
A life of pleasure is the best for man.
How sweet the products of a peaceful reign,—[p. 822] And again, he calls the gods “living at ease.” And “at ease” certainly means “without labour;” as if he meant to show by this expression, that the greatest of all evils is labour and trouble in life.
The heaven-taught poet and enchanting strain,
The well-fill'd palace, the perpetual feast,
A loud rejoicing, and a people blest!
How goodly seems it ever to employ
Man's social days in union and in joy;
The plenteous board high heap'd with cates divine,
And o'er the foaming bowl the laughing wine.
On which account Megaclides finds fault with those poets who came after Homer and Hesiod, and have written about Hercules, relating how he led armies and took cities,— who passed the greater part of his life among men in the most excessive pleasure, and married a greater number of women than any other man; and who had unacknowledged children, by a greater number of virgins, than any other man. For any one might say to those who do not admit all this—“Whence, my good friends, is it that you attribute to him all this excessive love of eating; or whence is it that the custom has originated among men of leaving nothing in the cup when we pour a libation to Hercules, if he had no regard for pleasure? or why are the hot springs which rise out of the ground universally said to be sacred to Hercules; or why are people in the habit of calling soft couches the beds of Hercules, if he despised all those who live luxuriously? Accordingly, says he, the later poets represent him as going about in the guise of a robber by himself, having a club, and a lion's hide, and his bow. And they say that Stesichorus of Himera was the original inventor of this fable. But Xanthus the lyric poet, who was more ancient than Stesichorus, as Stesichorus himself tells us, does not, according to the statement of Megaclides, clothe him in this dress, but in that which Homer gives him. But Stesichorus perverted a great many of the accounts given by Xanthus, as he does also in the case of what is called the Orestea. But Antisthenes, when he said that pleasure was a good, added—“such as brought no repentance in its train.”
But Ulysses, in Homer, appears to have been the original guide to Epicurus, in the matter of that pleasure which he has always in his mouth; for Ulysses says to Alcinous—
. . . . . . . . Thou whom first in sway,But Megaclides says that Ulysses is here adapting himself to the times, for the sake of appearing to be of the same disposition as the Phæacians; and that with that view he embraces their luxurious habits, as he had already heard from Alcinous, speaking of his whole nation—
As first in virtue, these thy realms obey,
How goodly seems it ever to employ
Man's social days in union and in joy I
The plenteous board high heap'd with cates divine,
And o'er the foaming bowl the laughing wine,
[p. 823] The well-fill'd palace, the perpetual feast,
Are of all joys most lasting and the best.
To dress, to dance, to sing, our sole delight,for he thought that that would be the only way by which he could avoid failing in the hopes he cherished. And a similar man is he who recommends Amphilochus his son—
The feast or bath by day, and love by night;
Remember thou, my son, to always dwellAnd Sophocles speaks in a like spirit, in the Iphigenia—
In every city cherishing a mind
Like to the skin of a rock-haunting fish;
And always with the present company
Agree, but when away you can change your mind.
As the wise polypus doth quickly changeAnd Theognis says—
His hue according to the rocks he's near,
So change your mind and your apparent feelings.
Imitate the wary cunning of the polypus.And some say that Homer was of this mind, when he often prefers the voluptuous life to the virtuous one, saying—
And now Olympus' shining gates unfold;And the same poet represents Menelaus as saying—
The Gods with Jove assume their thrones of gold;
Immortal Hebe, fresh with bloom divine,
The golden goblet crowns with purple wine;
While the full bowl flows round the Powers employ
Their careful eyes on long-contended Troy.
Nor then should aught but death have torn apartAnd in another place—
From me so loving and so glad a heart.
We sat secure, while fast around did rollAnd in the same spirit Ulysses, at the court of Alcinous, represents luxury and wantonness as the main end of life.
The dance, and jest, and ever-flowing bowl.
But of all nations the Persians were the first to become notorious for their luxury; and the Persian kings even spent their winters at Susa and their summers at Ecbatana. And [p. 824] Aristocles and Chares say that Susa derives its name from the seasonable and beautiful character of the place: for that what the Greeks call the lily, is called in the Persian language σοῦσον. But they pass their autumns in Persepolis; and the rest of the year they spend in Babylon. And in like manner the kings of the Parthians spend their spring in Rhagæ, and their winter in Babylon, and the rest of the year at Hecatompylus. And even the very thing which the Persian monarchs used to wear on their heads, showed plainly enough their extreme devotion to luxury. For it was made, according to the account of Dinon, of myrrh and of something called labyzus. And the labyzus is a sweet-smelling plant, and more valuable than myrrh. And whenever, says Dinon, the king dismounts from his chariot, he does not jump down, however small the height from the chariot to the ground may be, nor is he helped down, leaning on any one's hand, but a golden chair is always put by him, and he gets on that to descend; on which account the king's chairbearer always follows him. And three hundred women are his guard, as Heraclides of Cumæ relates, in the first book of his history of Persia. And they sleep all day, that they may watch all night; and they pass the whole night in singing and playing, with lights burning. And very often the king takes pleasure with them in the hall of the Melophori. The Melophori are one of his troops of guards, all Persians by birth, having golden apples (μῆλα) on the points of their spears, a thousand in number, all picked men out of the main body of ten thousand Persians who are called the Immortals. And the king used to go on foot through this hall, very fine Sardian carpets being spread in his road, on which no one but the king ever trod. And when he came to the last hall, then he mounted a chariot, but sometimes he mounted a horse; but on foot he was never seen outside of his palace. And if he went out to hunt, his concubines also went with him. And the throne on which he used to sit, when he was transacting business, was made of gold; and it was surrounded by four small pillars made of gold, inlaid with precious stones, and on them there was spread a purple cloth richly embroidered.
But Clearchus the Solensian, in the fourth book of his Lives, having previously spoken about the luxury of the [p. 825] Medes, and having said that on this account they made eunuchs of many citizens of the neighbouring tribes, adds, “that the institution of the Melophori was adopted by the Persians from the Medes, being not only a revenge for what they had suffered themselves, but also a memorial of the luxury of the bodyguards, to indicate to what pitch of effeminacy they had come. For, as it seems, the unseasonable and superfluous luxury of their daily life could make even the men who are armed with spears, mere mountebanks.” And a little further on he says—“And accordingly, while he gave to all those who could invent him any new kind of food, a prize for their invention, he did not, while loading them with honours, allow the food which they had invented to be set before them, but enjoyed it all by himself, and thought this was the greatest wisdom. For this, I imagine, is what is called the brains of Jupiter and of a king at the same time.” But Chares of Mitylene, in the fifth book of his History of Alexander, says—“The Persian kings had come to such a pitch of luxury, that at the head of the royal couch there was a supper-room laid with five couches, in which there were always kept five thousand talents of gold; and this was called the king's pillow. And at his feet was another supper-room, prepared with three couches, in which there were constantly kept three thousand talents of silver; and this was called the king's footstool. And in his bed-chamber there was also a golden vine, inlaid with precious stones, above the king's bed.” And this vine, Amyntas says in his Posts, had bunches of grapes, composed of most valuable precious stones; and not far from it there was placed a golden bowl, the work of Theodorus of Samos. And Agathocles, in the third book of his History of Cyzicus, says, that there is also among the Persians a water called the golden water, and that it rises in seventy springs; and that no one ever drinks of it but the king alone, and the eldest of his sons. And if any one else drinks of it, the punishment is death.
But Xenophon, in the eighth book of his Cyropædia, says—“They still used at that time to practise the discipline of the Persians, but the dress and effeminacy of the Medes. But now they disregard the sight of the ancient Persian bravery becoming extinct, and they are solicitous only to preserve the effeminacy of the Medes. And I think it a [p. 826] good opportunity to give an account of their luxurious habits. For, in the first place, it is not enough for them to have their beds softly spread, but they put even the feet of their couches upon carpets in order that the floor may not present resistance to them, but that the carpets may yield to their pressure. And as for the things which are dressed for their table, nothing is omitted which has been discovered before, and they are also continually inventing something new; and the same is the way with all other delicacies. For they retain men whose sole business it is to invent things of this kind. And in winter it is not enough for them to have their head, and their body, and their feet covered, but on even the tips of their fingers they wear shaggy gloves and finger-stalls; and in summer they are not satisfied with the shade of the trees and of the rocks, but they also have men placed in them to contrive additional means of producing shade.” And in the passage which follows this one, he proceeds to say—“But now they have more clothes laid upon their horses than they have even on their beds. For they do not pay so much attention to their horsemanship as to sitting softly. Moreover, they have porters, and bread-makers, and confectioners, and cup-bearers, and men to serve up their meals and to take them away, and men to lull them to sleep and men to wake them, and dressers to anoint them and to rub them, and to get them up well in every respect.”
The Lydians, too, went to such a pitch of luxury, that they were the first to castrate women, as Xanthus the Lydian tells us, or whoever else it was who wrote the History which is attributed to him, whom Artemon of Cassandra, in his treatise on the Collection of Books, states to have been Pionysius who was surnamed Leather-armed; but Artemon was not aware that Ephorus the historian mentions him as being an older man than the other, and as having been the man who supplied Herodotus with some of his materials. Xanthus, then, in the second book of his Affairs of Lydia, says that Adramyttes, the king of the Lydians, was the first man who ever castrated women, and used female eunuchs instead of male eunuchs. But Clearchus, in the fourth book of his Lives, says—“The Lydians, out of luxury, made parks; and having planted them like gardens, made them very shady, thinking it a refinement in luxury if the sun never touched them with its rays at all; and at last they carried [p. 827] their insolence to such a height, that they used to collect other men's wives and maidens into a place that, from this conduct, got the name of Hagneon, and there ravished them. And at last, having become utterly effeminate, they lived wholly like women instead of like men; on which account their age produced even a female tyrant, in the person of one of those who had been ravished in this way, by name Omphale. And she was the first to inflict on the Lydians the punishment that they deserved. For to be governed and insulted by a woman is a sufficient proof of the severity with which they were treated. Accordingly she, being a very intemperate woman herself, and meaning to revenge the insults to which she herself had been subjected, gave the maiden daughters of the masters to their slaves, in the very same place in which she herself had been ravished. And then having forcibly collected them all in this place, she shut up the mistresses with their slaves. On which account the Lydians, wishing to soften the bitterness of the transaction, call the place the Woman's Contest —the Sweet Embrace. And not only were the wives of the Lydians exposed to all comers, but those also of the Epizephyrian Locrians, and also those of the Cyprians—and, in fact, those of all the nations who devote their daughters to the lives of prostitutes; and it appears to be, in truth, a sort of reminding of, and revenge for, some ancient insult. So against her a Lydian man of noble birth rose up, one who had been previously offended at the government of Midas; while Midas lay in effeminacy, and luxury, and a purple robe, working in the company of the women at the loom. But as Omphale slew all the strangers whom she admitted to her embraces, he chastised both-the one, being a stupid and illiterate man, he dragged out by his ears; a man who, for want of sense, had the surname of the most stupid of all animals: but the woman . . . . .
And the Lydians were also the first people to introduce the use of the sauce called caruca; concerning the preparation of which all those who have written cookery books have spoken a good deal-namely, Glaucus the Locrian, and Mithæcus, and Dionysius, and the two Heraclidæ (who were by birth Syracusans), and Agis, and Epænetus, and Dionysius, and also Hegesippus, and Erasistratus, and Euthydemus, and [p. 828] Criton; and besides these, Stephanus, and Archytas, and Acestius, and Acesias, and Diocles, and Philistion; for I know that all these men have written cookery books. And the Lydians, too, used to speak of a dish which they called candaulus; and there was not one kind of candaulus only, but three, so wholly devoted were they to luxury. And Hegesippus the Tarentine says, that the candaulus is made of boiled meat, and grated bread, and Phrygian cheese, and aniseed, and thick broth: and it is mentioned by Alexis, in his Woman Working all Night, or The Spinners; and it is a cook who is represented as speaking:—
A. And, besides this, we now will serve you upPhilemon also mentions the candaulus in his Passer-by, where he says—
A dish whose name's candaulus.
B. I've ne'er tasted
Candaulus, nor have I e'er heard of it.
A. 'Tis a most grand invention, and 'tis mine;
And if I put a dish of it before you,
Such will be your delight that you'll devour
Your very fingers ere you lose a bit of it.
We here will get some balls of snow-white wool.
You will serve up an egg well shred, and twice
Boil'd till it's hard; a sausage, too, of honey;
Some pickle from the frying-pan, some slices
Of new-made Cynthian cheese; and then
A bunch of grapes, steep'd in a cup of wine:
But this part of the dish is always laugh'd at,
And yet it is the mainstay of the meal.
B. Laugh on, my friend; but now be off, I beg,
With all your talk about candauli, and
Your sausages, and dishes, and such luxuries.
For I have all these witnesses in the city,And Nicostratus, in his Cook, says—
That I'm the only one can dress a sausage,
A candaulus, eggs, a thrium, all in no time:
Was there any error or mistake in this?
A man who could not even dress black broth,And Menander, in his Trophonius, says—
But only thria and candauli.
Here comes a very rich Ionian,And the Lydians, when going out to war, array themselves to [p. 829] the tune of flutes and pipes, as Herodotus says; and the Lacedæmonians also attack their enemies keeping time to their flutes, as the Cretans keep time to the lyre.
And so I make a good thick soup, and eke
A rich candaulus, amatory food.
But Heraclides of Cumæ, who wrote the History of Persia, having said in his book entitled The Preparation, that in the country which produces frankincense the king is independent, and responsible to no one, proceeds as follows:— “And he exceeds every one in luxury and indolence; for he stays for ever in his palace, passing his whole life in luxury and extravagance; and he does no single thing, nor does he see many people. But he appoints the judges, and if any one thinks that they have decided unjustly, there is a window in the highest part of the palace, and it is fastened with a chain: accordingly, he who thinks that an unjust decision has been given against him, takes hold of the chain, and drags the window; and when the king hears it, he summons the man, and hears the cause himself. And if the judges appear to have decided unjustly, they are put to death; but if they appear to have decided justly, then the man who has moved the window is put to death.” And it is said that the sum expended every day on the king, and on his wives and friends, amounts to fifteen Babylonian talents.
And among the Tyrrhenians, who carry their luxury to an extraordinary pitch, Timæus, in his first book, relates that the female servants wait on the men in a state of nudity. And Theopompus, in the forty-third book of his History, states, “that it is a law among the Tyrrhenians that all their women should be in common: and that the women pay the greatest attention to their persons, and often practise gymnastic exercises, naked, among the men, and sometimes with one another; for that it is not accounted shameful for them to be seen naked. And that they sup not with their own husbands, but with any one who happens to be present; and they pledge whoever they please in their cups: and that they are wonderful women to drink, and very and some. And that the Tyrrhenians bring up all the children that are born, no one knowing to what father each child belongs: and the children, too, live in the same manner as those who have brought them up, having feasts very frequently, ad being intimate with all the women. Nor is it reckoned among the Tyrrhenians at all disgraceful either to do or suffer anything [p. 830] in the open air, or to be seen while it is going on; for it is quite the custom of their country: and they are so far from thinking it disgraceful, that they even say, when the master of the house is indulging his appetites, and any one asks for him, that he is doing so and so, using the coarsest possible words for his occupation. But when they are together in parties of companions or relations, they act in the following manner. First of all, when they have stopped drinking, and are about to go to sleep, while the lights are still burning, the servants introduce sometimes courtesans, and sometimes beautiful boys, and sometimes women; and when they have enjoyed them, they proceed to acts of still grosser licentiousness: and they indulge their appetites, and make parties on purpose, sometimes keeping one another in sight, but more frequently making tents around the beds, which are made of plaited laths, with cloths thrown over them. And the objects of their love are usually women; still they are not invariably as particular as they might be; and they are very beautiful, as is natural for people to be who live delicately, and who take great care of their persons.” And all the barbarians who live towards the west, smooth their bodies by rubbing them with pitch, and by shaving them; and among the Tyrrhenians there are many shops in which this trade is practised, and many artists whose sole employment it is, just as there are barbers among us. And when the Tyrrhenians go to these men, they give themselves wholly up to them, not being ashamed of having spectators, or of those who may be passing by. And many of the Greeks, and of those who inhabit Italy, adopt this practice, having learnt it from the Samnites and Messapians. But the Tyrrhenians (as Alcimus relates) are so far gone in luxury, that they even make bread, and box, and flog people to the sound of the flute.
The tables of the Sicilians also are very notorious for their luxury. “And they say that even the sea in their region is sweet, delighting in the food which is procured from it,” as Clearchus says, in the fifth book of his Lives. And why need we mention the Sybarites, among whom bathing men and pourers of water were first introduced in fetters, in order to prevent their going too fast, and to prevent also their scalding the bathers in their haste? And the [p. 831] Sybarites were the first people to forbid those who practise noisy arts from dwelling in their city; such as braziers, and smiths, and carpenters, and men of similar trades; providing that their slumbers should always be undisturbed. And it used to be unlawful to rear a cock in their city. And Timæus relates concerning them, that a citizen of Sybaris once going into the country, seeing the husbandmen digging, said that he himself felt as if he had broker his bones by the sight; and some one who heard him replied, “I, when I heard you say this, felt as if I had a pain in my side.” And once, at Crotona, some Sybarites were standing by some one of the athletes who was digging up dust for the palæstra, and said they marvelled that men who had such a city had no slaves to dig the palæstra for them. But another Sybarite, coming to Lacedæmon, and being invited to the phiditium, sitting down on a wooden seat and eating with them, said that originally he had been surprised at hearing of the valour of the Lacedæmonians; but that now that he had seen it, he thought that they in no respect surpassed other men: for that the greatest coward on earth would rather die a thousand times than live and endure such a life as theirs.
And it is a custom among them that even their children, up to the age when they are ranked among the ephebi, should wear purple robes, and curls braided with gold. And it is a custom with them also to breed up in their houses little mannikins and dwarfs (as Timon says) who are called by some people στίλπωνες; and also little Maltese dogs, which follow them even to the gymnasia. And it was these men, and men like them, to whom Masinissa, king of Mauritania, made answer (as Ptolemy relates, in the eighth book of his Commentaries), when they were seeking to buy some monkeys: “Why,—do not your wives, my good friends, produce any offspring?” For Masinissa was very fond of children, and kept about him and brought up the children of his sons, and of his daughters equally, and he had a great many of them: and he brought them all up till they were three years old, and after that he sent them to their parent, having the younger ones to take their places. And Eublus the comic writer has said the same thing in his Graces:—
For is it not, I pray you, better farAnd Athenodorus, in his treatise on Serious Studies and Amusements, says that “Archytas of Tarentum, who was both a statesman and a philosopher, having many slaves, was always delighted at his entertainments when any of them came to his banquets. But the Sybarites delighted only in Maltese puppy dogs, and in men which were no men.”
For one man, who can well afford such acts,
[p. 832] To rear a man, than a loud gaping goose,
Or sparrow, or ape—most mischievous of beasts?
The Sybarites used to wear also garments made of Milesian wool, from which there arose a great friendship between the two cities, as Timæus relates. For of the inhabitants of Italy, the Milesians gave the preference to the Tyrrhenians, and of foreigners to the Ionians, because they were devoted to luxury. But the cavalry of the Sybarites, being in number more than five thousand, used to go in procession with saffron-coloured robes over their breastplates; and in the summer their younger men used to go away to the caves of the Lusiades Nymphs, and live there in all kinds of luxury. And whenever the rich men of that country left the city for the country, although they always travelled in chariots, still they used to consume three days in a day's journey. And some of the roads which led to their villas in the country were covered with awnings all over; and a great many of them had cellars near the sea, into which their wine was brought by canals from the country, and some of it was then sold out of the district, but some was brought into the city in boats. They also celebrate in public numbers of feasts; and they honour those who display great magnificence on such occasions with golden crowns, and they proclaim their names at the public sacrifices and games; announcing not only their general goodwill towards the city, but also the great magnificence which they had displayed in the feasts. And on these occasions they even crown those cooks who have served up the most exquisite dishes. And among the Sybarites there were found baths in which, while they lay down, they were steamed with warm vapours. And they were the first people who introduced the custom of bringing chamber-pots into entertainments. But laughing at those who left their countries to travel in foreign lands, they themselves used to boast that they had grown old without ever having crossed the bridges which led over their frontier rivers. [p. 833]
But it seems to me, that besides the fact of the riches of the Sybarites, the very natural character of their country,— since there are no harbours on their coasts, and since, in consequence, nearly all the produce of the land is consumed by the citizens themselves,—and to some extent also an oracle of the God, has excited them all to luxury, and has cased them to live in practices of most immoderate dissoluteness. But their city lies in a hollow, and in summer is liable to excess of cold both morning and evening, but in the middle of the day the heat is intolerable, so that the greater part of them believe that the rivers contribute a great deal to the health of the inhabitants; on which account it has been said, that “an man who, living at Sybaris, wishes not to die before his time, ought never to see the sun either rise or set.” And once they sent to the oracle to consult the God (and one of the ambassadors was named Amyris), and to ask how long their prosperity should last; and the priestess of Delphi answered them—
You shall be happy, Sybarite,—very happy,When they had heard this they thought the God had said to them that they should never have their luxury terminated; for that there was no chance of their ever honouring a man more than God. But in agreement with the oracle they experienced a change of fortune, when one of them flogging one of his slaves, continued to beat him after he had sought an asylum in a temple; but when at last he fled to the tomb of his father, he let him go, out of shame. But their whole revenues were dissipated by the way in which then rivalled one another in luxury. And the city also rivalled all other cities in luxury. And not long after this circumstance, when many omens of impending destruction, which it is not necessary to allude to further at present, had given them notice, they were destroyed.
And all your time in entertainments pass,
While you continue to th' immortal gods
The worship due: but when you come, at length,
To honour mortal man beyond the gods,
Then foreign war and intestine sedition
Shall come upon you, and shall crush your city.
But they had carried their luxury to such a pitch that they had taught even their horses to dance at their feasts to the music of the flute. Accordingly the people of Crotona, [p. 834] knowing this, and being at war with them, as Aristotle relates in his History of the Constitution of Sybaris, played before their horses the air to which they were accustomed to dance; for the people of Crotona also had fluteplayers in military uniform. And as soon as the horses heard them playing on the flute, they not only began to dance, but ran over to the army of the Crotonians, carrying their riders with them. And Charon of Lampsacus tells a similar story about the Cardians, in the second book of his Annals, writing as follows:—“The Bisaltæ invaded the territory of the Cardians, and conquered them. But the general of the Bisaltæ was Onaris; and he, while he was a boy, had been sold as a slave in Cardia; and having lived as a slave to one of the Cardians, he had been taught the trade of a barber. And the Cardians had an oracle warning them that the Bisaltæ would some day invade them; and they very often used to talk over this oracle while sitting in this barber's shop. And Onaris, escaping from Cardia to his own country, prompted the Bisaltæ to invade the Cardians, and was himself elected general of the Bisaltæ. But all the Cardians had been in the habit of teaching their horses to dance at their feasts to the music of the flute; and they, standing on their hind feet, used to dance with their fore feet in time to the airs which they had been taught. Onaris then, knowing these things, got a female fluteplayer from among the Cardians. And this female fluteplayer coming to the Bisaltæ, taught many of their fluteplayers; and when they had learnt sufficiently, he took them in his army against the Cardians. And when the battle took place, he ordered the fluteplayers to play the airs which they had learnt, and which the horses of the Cardians knew. And when the horses heard the flute, they stood up on their hind feet, and took to dancing. But the main strength of the Cardians was in their cavalry, and so they were conquered.” And one of the Sybarites, once wishing to sail over to Crotona, hired a vessel to carry him by himself, on condition that no one was to splash him, and that no one else was to be taken on board, and that he might take his horse with him. And when the captain of the ship had agreed to these terms, he put his horse on board, and ordered some straw to be [p. 835] spread under the horse. And afterwards he begged one of those who had accompanied him down to the vessel to go with him, saying, “I have already stipulated with the captain of the ship to keep along the shore.” But he relied, “I should have had great difficulty in complying with your wishes if you had been going to walk along the seashore, much less can I do so when you are going to sail along the land.”
But Phylarchus, in the twenty-fifth book of his History, (having said that there was a law at Syracuse, that the women should not wear golden ornaments, nor garments embroidered with flowers, nor robes with purple borders, unless they professed that they were public prostitutes; and that there was another law, that a man should not adorn his person, nor wear any extraordinarily handsome robes, different from the rest of the citizens, unless he meant to confess that he was. an adulterer and a profligate: and also, that a freewoman was not to walk abroad when the sun had set, unless she was going to commit adultery; and even by day they were not allowed to go out without the leave of the regulators of the women, and without one female servant following them,)— Phylarchus, I say, states, that “the Sybarites, having given loose to their luxury, made a law that women might be invited to banquets, and that those who intended to invite them to sacred festivities must make preparation a year before, in order that they might have all that time to provide themselves with garments and other ornaments in a suitable manner worthy of the occasion, and so might come to the banquet to which they were invited. And if any confectioner or cook invented any peculiar and excellent dish, no other artist was allowed to make this for a year; but he alone who invented it was entitled to all the profit to be derived from the manufacture of it for that time; in order that others might be in- duced to labour at excelling in such pursuits. And the same way, it was provided that those who sold eels were not to be liable to pay tribute, nor those who caught them either. And in the same way the laws exempted from all burdens those who dyed the marine purple and those who imported it.”
They, then, having carried their luxury and insolence to a great height, at last, when thirty ambassadors came to them from the people of Crotona, slew them all, and threw [p. 836] their bodies down over the wall, and left them there to be eaten by beasts. And this was the beginning of great evils to them, as the Deity was much offended at it. Accordingly, a few days afterwards all their chief magistrates appeared to see the same vision on one night; for they thought that they saw Juno coming into the midst of the market-place, and vomiting gall; and a spring of blood arose in her temple. But even then they did not desist from their arrogance, until they were all destroyed by the Crotonians. But Heraclides of Pontus, in his treatise on Justice, says,—“The Sybarites having put down the tyranny of Telys, and having destroyed all those who had exercised authority, met them and slew them at the altars of the gods. And at the sight of this slaughter the statue of Juno turned itself away, and the floor sent up a fountain of blood, so that they were forced to cover all the place around with brazen tablets, wishing to stop the rising of the blood: on which account they were all driven from their city and destroyed. And they had also been desirous to obscure the glory of the famous games at Olympia; for watching the time when they are celebrated, they attempted to draw over the athletes to their side by the extravagance of the prizes which they offered.”
And the men of Crotona, as Timæus says, after they had destroyed the people of Sybaris, began to indulge in luxury; so that their chief magistrate went about the city clad in a purple robe, and wearing a golden crown on his head, and wearing also white sandals. But some say that this was not done out of luxury, but owing to Democedes the physician, who was by birth a native of Crotona; and who having lived with Polycrates the tyrant of Samos, and having been taken prisoner by the Persians after his death, was taken to the king of Persia, after Orœtes had put Polycrates to death. And Democedes, having cured Atossa, the wife of Darius, and daughter of Cyrus, who had a complaint in her breast, asked of her this reward, to be sent back to Greece, on condition of returning again to Persia; and having obtained his request he came to Crotona. And as he wished to remain there, when some Persian laid hold of him and said that he was a slave of the king of Persia, the Crotonians took him away, and having stripped the Persian of his robe, dressed the lictor of their chief magistrate in it. And [p. 837] from that time forward, the lictor, having on the Persian robe, went round with the chief magistrate to all the altars every seventh day; not for the sake of luxury or insolence, but doing it for the purpose of insulting the Persians. But after this the men of Crotona, as Timæus says, attempted to put an end to the Assembly at Olympia, by appointing a meeting for games, with enormously rich prizes, to be held at exactly the same time as the Olympian games; but some say that the Sybarites did this.
But Clearchus, in the fourth book of his Lives, says that the people of Tarentum, being a very valiant and powerful people, carried their luxury to such a height, that they used to make their whole body smooth, and that they were the first people who set other nations an example of this smoothness. They also, says he, all wore very beautiful fringes on their garments; such as those with which now the life of woman is refined. And afterwards, being led on by their luxury to insolence, they overthrew a city of the Iapyges, called Carbina, and collected all the boys and maidens, and women in the flower of their age, out of it into the temples of the Carbinians; and building tents there, they exposed them naked by day for all who chose to come and look at them, so that whoever pleased, leaping, as it were, on this unfortunate band, might satiate his appetites with the beauty of those who were there assembled, in the sight of every one, and above all of the Gods, whom they were thinking of but little. And this aroused the indignation of the Deity, so that he struck all the Tarentines who behaved so impiously in Carbina with his thunderbolts. And even to this day at Tarentum every one of the houses has the same number of pillars before its doors as that of the people whom it received back of those who were sent to Iapygia. And, when the day comes which is the anniversary of their death, they do not bewail those who perished at those pillars, nor do they offer the libations which are customary in other cases, but they offer sacrifices to Jupiter the Thunderer.
Now the race of the Iapygians came originally from Crete, being descended from those Cretans who came to seek for Glaucus, and settled in that part of Italy; but afterwards, they, forgetting the orderly life of the Cretans came to such a pitch of luxury, and from thence to such a degree [p. 838] of insolence, that they were the first people who painted their faces, and who wore headbands and false hair, and who clothed themselves in robes embroidered with flowers, and who considered it disgraceful to cultivate the land, or to do any kind of labour. And most of them made their houses more beautiful than the temples of the gods; and so they say, that the leaders of the Iapygians, treating the Deity with insult, destroyed the images of the gods out of the temples, ordering them to give place to their superiors. On which account, being struck with fire and thunderbolts, they gave rise to this report; for indeed the thunderbolts with which they were stricken down were visible a long time afterwards. And to this very day all their descendants live with shaven heads and in mourning apparel, in want of all the luxuries which previously belonged to them.
But the Spaniards, although they go about in robes like those of the tragedians, and richly embroidered, and in tunics which reach down to the feet, are not at all hindered by their dress from displaying their vigour in war; but the people of Massilia became very effeminate, wearing the same highly ornamented kind of dress which the Spaniards used to wear; but they behave in a shameless manner, on account of the effeminacy of their souls, behaving like women, out of luxury: from which the proverb has gone about,—May you sail to Massilia. And the inhabitants of Siris, which place was first inhabited by people who touched there on their return from Troy, and after them by the Colophonians, as Timæus and Aristotle tell us, indulged in luxury no less than the Sybarites; for it was a peculiar national custom of theirs to wear embroidered tunics, which they girded up with expensive girdles (μίτραι); and on this account they were called by the inhabitants of the adjacent countries μιτροχίτωνες, since Homer calls those who have no girdles ἀμιτροχίτωνες. And Archilochus the poet marvelled beyond anything at the country of the Siritans, and at their prosperity. Accordingly, speaking of Thasos as inferior to Siris, he says—
For there is not on earth a place so sweet,But the place was called Siris, as Timæus asserts, and as Euripides says too in his play called The Female Prisoner, or [p. 839] Melanippe, from a woman named Siris, but according to Archilochus, from a river of the same name. And the number of the population was very great in proportion to the size of the place and extent of the country, owing to the luxurious and delicious character of the climate all around. On which account nearly all that part of Italy which was colonised by the Greeks was called Magna Græcia.
Or lovely, or desirable as that
Which stands upon the stream of gentle Siris.
“But the Milesians, as long as they abstained from luxury, conquered the Scythians,” as Ephorus says, "and founded all the cities on the Hellespont, and settled all the country about the Euxine Sea with beautiful cities. And they all betook themselves to Miletus. But when they were enervated by pleasure and luxury, all the valiant character of the city disappeared, as Aristotle tells us; and indeed a proverb arose from them,—
Once on a time Milesians were brave."Heraclides of Pontus, in the second book of his treatise on Justice, says,—"The city of the Milesians fell into misfortunes, on account of the luxurious lives of the citizens and on account of the political factions; for the citizens, not loving equity, destroyed their enemies root and branch. For all the rich men and the populace formed opposite factions (and they call the populace Gergithæ). At first the people got the better, and drove out the rich men, and, collecting the children of those who fled into some threshing-floors, collected a lot of oxen, and so trampled them to death, destroying them in a most impious manner. Therefore, when in their turn the rich men got the upper hand, they smeared over all those whom they got into their power with pitch, and so burnt them alive. And when they were being burnt, they say that many other prodigies were seen, and also that a sacred olive took fire of its own accord; on which account the God drove them for a long time from his oracle; and when they asked the oracle on what account they were driven away, he said—
My heart is grieved for the defenceless Gergithæ,And Clearchus, in his fourth book, says that the Milesians, imitating the luxury of the Colophonians, disseminated it [p. 840] among their neighbours. And then he says that they, when reproved for it, said one to another, “Keep at home your native Milesian wares, and publish them not.”
So helplessly destroy'd; and for the fate
Of the poor pitch-clad bands, and for the tree
Which never more shall flourish or bear fruit.
And concerning the Scythians, Clearchus, in what follows these last words, proceeds to say—-"The nation of the Scythians was the first to use common laws; but after that, they became in their turn the most miserable of all nations, on account of their insolence: for they indulged in luxury to a degree in which no other nation did, being prosperous in everything, and having great resources of all sorts for such indulgences. And this is plain from the traces which exist of it to this day in the apparel worn, and way of life practised, by their chief men. For they, being very luxurious, and indeed being the first men who abandoned themselves wholly to luxury, proceeded to such a pitch of insolence that they used to cut off the noses of all the men wherever they came; and their descendants, after they emigrated to other countries, even now derive their name from this treatment. But their wives used to tattoo the wives of the Thracians, (of those Thracians, that is, who lived on the northern and western frontiers of Scythia,) all over their bodies, drawing figures on them with the tongues of their buckles; on which account, many years afterwards, the wives of the Thracians who had been treated in this manner effaced this disgrace in a peculiar manner of their own, tattooing also all the rest of their skin all over, in order that by this means the brand of disgrace and insult which was imprinted on their bodies, being multiplied in so various a manner, might efface the reproach by being called an ornament. And they lorded it over all other nations in so tyrannical a manner, that the offices of slavery, which are painful enough to all men, made it plain to all succeeding ages what was the real character of “a Scythian command.” Therefore, on account of the number of disasters which oppressed them, since every people had lost, through grief, all the comforts of life, and all their hair at the same time, foreign nations called all cutting of the hair which is done by way of insult, ἀποσκυθίζομαι.
And Callias, or Diocles, (whichever was the author of the Cyclopes), ridiculing the whole nation of the Ionians in that play, says— [p. 841]
What has become of that luxuriousAnd the people of Abydus (and Abydus is a colony of Miletus) are very luxurious in their way of life, and wholly enervated by pleasure; as Hermippus tells us, in his Soldiers—
Ionia, with the sumptuous supper-tables?
Tell me, how does it fare?
A. I do rejoice when I behold an armyAnd Aristophanes, in his Triphales, ridiculing (after the fashion of the comedians) many of the Ionians, says—
From o'er the sea,—to see how soft they are
And delicate to view, with flowing hair,
And well-smooth'd muscles in their tender arms.
B. Have you heard Abydus has become a man?
Then all the other eminent foreignersBut concerning the people of Abydus, Antipho, in reply to the attacks of Alcibiades, speaks as follows:—“After you had been considered by your guardians old enough to be your own master, you, receiving your property from their hands, went away by sea to Abydus,—not for the purpose of transacting any private business of your own, nor on account of any commission of the state respecting any public rights of hospitality; but, led only by your own lawless and intemperate disposition, to learn lascivious habits and actions from the women at Abydus, in order that you might be able to put them in practice during the remainder of your life.”
Who were at hand, kept following steadily,
And much they press'd him, begging he would take
The boy with him to Chios, and there sell him:
Another hoped he'd take him to Clazomenæ;
A third was all for Ephesus; a fourth
Preferred Abydus on the Hellespont:
And all these places in his way did lie.
The Magnesians also, who lived on the banks of the Meander, were undone because they indulged in too much luxury, as Callinus relates in his Elegies; and Archilochus confirms this: for the city of Magnesia was taken by the Ephesians. And concerning these same Ephesians, Democritus, who was himself an Ephesian, speaks in the First book of his treatise on the Temple of Diana at Ephesus; where, relating their excessive effeminacy, and the dyed garments which they used to wear, he uses these expressions:—“And as for the violet and purple robes of the Ionians, and their [p. 842] saffron garments, embroidered with round figures, those are known to every one; and the caps which they wear on their heads are in like manner embroidered with figures of animals. They wear also garments called sarapes, of yellow, or scarlet, or white, and some even of purple: and they wear also long robes called calasires, of Corinthian workmanship; and some of these are purple, and some violet-coloured, and some hyacinth-coloured; and one may also see some which are of a fiery red, and others which are of a sea-green colour. There are also Persian calasires, which are the most beautiful of all. And one may see also,” continues Democritus, “the garments which they call actææ; and the actæa is the most costly of all the Persian articles of dress: and this actæa is woven for the sake of fineness and of strength, and it is ornamented all over with golden millet-grains; and all the millet-grains have knots of purple thread passing through the middle, to fasten them inside the garment.” And he says that the Ephesians use all these things, being wholly devoted to luxury.
But Duris, speaking concerning the luxury of the Samians, quotes the poems of Asius, to prove that they used to wear armlets on their arms; and that, when celebrating the festival of the Heræa, they used to go about with their hair carefully combed down over the back of their head and over their shoulders; and he says that this is proved to have been their regular practice by this proverb—“To go, like a worshipper of Juno, with his hair braided.” Now the verses of Asius run as follows:—-
And they march'd, with carefully comb'd hairBut Heraclides of Pontus, in his treatise on Pleasure, says that the Samians, being most extravagantly luxurious, destroyed the city, out of their meanness to one another, as effectually as the Sybarites destroyed theirs.
To the most holy spot of Juno's temple,
Clad in magnificent robes, whose snow-white folds
Reach'd to the ground of the extensive earth,
And golden knobs on them like grasshoppers,
And golden chaplets loosely held their hair,
Gracefully waving in the genial breeze;
And on their arms were armlets, highly wrought,
. . . . . . . . . and sung
The praises of the mighty warrior.
But the Colophonians (as Phylarchus says), who ori- [p. 843] ginally adopted a very rigid course of life, when, in conse- quence of the alliance and friendship which they formed with the Lydians, they began to give way to luxury, used to go into public with their hair adorned with golden ornaments, as Xenophanes tells us—
They learnt all sorts of useless foolishnessAnd to such a degree did they carry their dissoluteness and their unseemly drunkenness, that some of them never once saw the sun either rise or set: and they passed a law, which continued even to our time, that the female fluteplayers and female harpers, and all such musicians and singers, should receive pay from daybreak to midday, and until the lamps were lighted; but after that they set aside the rest of the night to get drunk in. And Theopompus, in the fifteenth book of his History, says, “that a thousand men of that city used to walk about the city, wearing purple garments, which was at that time a colour rare even among kings, and greatly sought after; for purple was constantly sold for its weight in silver. And so, owing to these practices, they fell under the power of tyrants, and became torn by factions, and so were undone with their country.” And Diogenes the Babylonian gave the same account of them, in the first book of his Laws. And Antiphanes, speaking generally of the luxury of all the Ionians, has the following lines in his Dodona:—
From the effeminate Lydians, while they
Were held in bondage to sharp tyranny.
They went into the forum richly clad
In purple garments, in numerous companies,
Whose strength was not less than a thousand men,
Boasting of hair luxuriously dress'd,
Dripping with costly and sweet-smelling oils.
Say, from what country do you come, what landAnd Theophrastus, in his essay on Pleasure, says that the Ionians, on account of the extraordinary height to which they carried their luxury, gave rise to what is now known as the golden proverb.
Call you your home? Is this a delicate
Luxurious band of long and soft-robed men
From cities of Ionia that here approaches?
And Theopompus, in the eighth book of his History of the Affairs of Philip, says that some of those tribes which live on the sea-coast are exceedingly luxurious in their manner of [p. 844] living. But about the Byzantians and Chalcedonians, the same Theopompus makes the following statement:—“But the Byzantians, because they had been governed a long time by a democracy, and because their city was so situated as to be a kind of mart, and because the whole people spent the whole of their time in the market-place and about the harbour, were very intemperate, and in the constant habit of feasting and drinking at the wine-sellers'. But the Chalcedonians, before they became members of the same city with them, were men who at all times cultivated better habits and principles of life; but after they had tasted of the democracy of the Byzantians, they fell into ruinous luxury, and, from having been most temperate and moderate in their daily life, they became a nation of hard drinkers, and very extravagant.” And, in the twenty-first book of the History of the Affairs of Philip, he says that the nation of the Umbrians (and that is a tribe which lives on the shores of the Hadriatic) was exceedingly devoted to luxury, and lived in a manner very like the Lydians, and had a fertile country, owing to which they advanced in prosperity.
But speaking about the Thessalians, in his fourth book, he says that “they spend all their time among dancing women and flute-playing women, and some spend all the day in dice and drinking, and similar pastimes; and they are more anxious how they may display their tables loaded with all kinds of food, than how they may exhibit a regular and orderly life. But the Pharsalians,” says he, “are of all men the most indolent and the most extravagant.” And the Thessalians are confessed (as Critias says) to be the most extravagant of all the Greeks, both in their way of living and in their apparel; which was a reason why they conducted the Persians into Greece, desiring to copy their luxury and expense. But concerning the Aetolians, Polybius tells us, in the thirteenth book of his History, that on account of their continual wars, and the extravagance of their lives, they became involved in debt. And Agatharchides, in the twelfth book of his Histories, says—“The Aetolians are so much the more ready to encounter death, in proportion as they seek to live extravagantly and with greater prodigality than any other nation.”
But the Sicilians, and especially the Syracusans, are [p. 845] very notorious for their luxury; as Aristophanes also tells us, in his Daitaleis, where he says—
But after that I sent you, you did notBut Plato, in his Epistles, says—“It was with this intention that I went to Italy and Sicily, when I paid my first visit there. But when I got there, the way of life that I found there was not at all pleasing to me; for twice in the day they eat to satiety, and they never sleep alone at night; and they indulge also in all other such practices as naturally follow on such habits: for, after such habits as these, no man in all the world, who has been bred up in them from his youth, can possibly turn out sensible; and as for being temperate and virtuous, that none of them ever think of.” And in the third book of his Polity he writes as follows:—"It seems to me, my friend, that you do not approve of the Syracusan tables, and the Sicilian variety of dishes; and you do not approve either of men, who wish to preserve a vigorous constitution, devoting themselves to Corinthian mistresses; nor do you much admire the delicacy which is usually attributed to Athenian sweetmeats.
Learn this at all; but only learnt to drink,
And sing loose songs at Syracusan feasts,
And how to share in Sybaritic banquets,
And to drink Chian wine in Spartan cups.
But Posidonius, in the sixteenth book of his Histories, speaking of the cities in Syria, and saying how luxurious they were, writes as follows:—“The inhabitants of the towns, on account of the great fertility of the land, used to derive great revenues from their estates, and after their labours for necessary things used to celebrate frequent entertainments, at which they feasted incessantly, using their gymnasia for baths, and anointing themselves with very costly oils and perfumes; and they passed all their time in their γραμματεῖα, for that was the name which they gave to their public banqueting-rooms, as if they had been their own private houses; and the greater part of the day they remained in tem, filling their bellies with meat and drink, so as even to carry away a good deal to eat at home; and they delighted their ears with the music of a noisy lyre, so that whole cities resounded with such noises.” But Agatharchides, in the thirty-fifth book of his Affairs of Europe, says—“The Arycandians of Lycia, [p. 846] being neighbours of the Limyres, having got involved in debt, on account of the intemperance and extravagance of their way of living, and, by reason of their indolence and devotion to pleasure, being unable to discharge their debts, placed all their hopes on Mithridates, thinking that he would reward them with a general abolition of debts.” And, in his thirty-first book, he says that the Zacynthians were inexperienced in war, because they were accustomed to live in ease and opulence.
And Polybius, in his seventh book, says, that the inhabitants of Capua in Campania, having become exceedingly rich through the excellence of their soil, fell into habits of luxury and extravagance, exceeding all that is reported of the inhabitants of Crotona or Sybaris. “Accordingly,” says he, “they, not being able to bear their present prosperity, called in Hannibal, owing to which act they afterwards suffered intole- rable calamities at the hands of the Romans. But the people of Petelia, who kept the promises which they had made to the Romans, behaved with such resolution and fortitude when besieged by Hannibal, that they did not surrender till they had eaten all the hides which there were in the city, and the bark and young branches of all the trees which grew in the city, and till they had endured a siege for eleven months, without any one coming to their assistance; and they did not even then surrender without the permission of the Romans.”
And Phylarchus, in the eleventh book of his History, says that Aeschylus says that the Curetes derived their name from their luxurious habits—
At least (say they) we cut and dress'd our hair,And the people of Cumæ in Italy, as Hyperochus tells us, or whoever else it was who wrote the History of Cumæ which [p. 847] is attributed to him, wore golden brocaded garments all day, and robes embroidered with flowers; and used to go to the fields with their wives, riding in chariots.—And this is what I have to say about the luxury of nations and cities.
To be an evidence of our luxury,
A lovely action of a cheerful mind;
And thence we gain'd the glory of a name,—
To be κουρῆτες, from our well-cut (κούριμος) hair."
But of individual instances I have heard tile following stories:—Ctesias, in the third book of his History of Persia, says, that all those who were ever kings in Asia devoted themselves mainly to luxury; and above all of them, Ninyas did so, the son of Ninus and Semiramis. He, therefore, remaining in-doors and living luxuriously, was never seen by any one, except by his eunuchs and by his own women. And another king of this sort was Sardanapalus, whom some call the son of Anacyndaraxes, and others the son of Anabaxarus. And so, when Arbaces, who was one of the generals under him, a Mede by birth, endeavoured to manage, by the assistance of one of the eunuchs, whose name was Sparamizus, to see Sardanaplus; and when he with difficulty prevailed upon him, with the consent of the king himself,—when the Mede entered and saw him, pointed with vermilion and adorned like a woman, sitting among his concubines carding purple wool, and sitting among them with his feet up, wearing a woman's robe, and with his beard carefully scraped, and his face smoothed with pumice-stone (for he was whiter than milk, and pencilled under his eyes and eyebrows; and when he saw Arbaces, he was just putting a little more white under his eyes), most historians, among whom Duris is one, relate that Arbaces, being indignant at his countrymen being ruled over by such a monarch as that, stabbed him and slew him. But Ctesias says that he went to war with him, and collected a great army, and then that Sardanapalus, being dethroned by Arbaces, died, burning himself alive in his palace, having heaped up a funeral pile four plethra in extent, on which he placed a hundred and fifty golden couches, and a corresponding number of tables, these, too, being all made of gold. And he also erected on the funeral pile a chamber a hundred feet long, made of wood; and in it he had couches spread, and there he himself lay down with his wife, and his concubines lay on other couches around. For he had sent on his three sons and his daughters, when he saw that his affairs were getting in a dangerous state, to Nineveh, to the king of that city, giving them three thousand talents [p. 848] of gold. And he made the roof of this apartment of large stout beams, and then all the walls of it he made of numerous thick planks, so that it was impossible to escape out of it. And in it he placed ten millions of talents of gold, and a hundred millions of talents of silver, and robes, and purple garments, and every kind of apparel imaginable. And after that he bade the slaves set fire to the pile; and it was fifteen days burning. And those who saw the smoke wondered, and thought that he was celebrating a great sacrifice; but the eunuchs alone knew what was really being done. And in this way Sardanapalus, who had spent his life in extraordinary luxury, died with as much magnanimity as possible.
But Clearchus, relating the history of the king of Persia, says that—“in a very prudent manner he proposed prizes for any one who could invent any delicious food. For this is what, I imagine, is meant by the brains of Jupiter and the king. On which account,” continues he, “Sardanapalus was the most happy of all monarchs, who during his whole life preferred enjoyment to everything else, and who, even after his death, shows by his fingers, in the figure carved on his tomb, how much ridicule all human affairs deserve, being not worth the snap of his fingers which he makes . . . . . . . . anxiety about other things.” However, Sardanapalus does not appear to have lived all his life in entire inaction; for the inscription on his tomb says—-
SardanapalusAnd Amyntas, in the third book of his Account of the Posts, says that at Nineveh there is a very high mound, which Cyrus levelled with the ground when he besieged the city, and raised another mound against the city; and that this mound was said to have been erected by Sardanapalus the son of King Ninus; and that on it there was said to be inscribed, on a marble pillar and in Chaldaic characters, the following inscription, which Chærilus translated into Greek, and reduced to metre. And the inscription is as follows—
The king, and son of Anacyndaraxes,
In one day built Anchiale and Tarsus;
But now he's dead.
I was the king, and while I lived on earth,But Clitarchus, in the fourth book of his History of Alexander, says that Sardanapalus died of old age after he had lost the sovereignty over the Syrians. And Aristobulus says— "In Anchiale, which was built by Sardanapalus, did Alexander, when he was on his expedition against the Persians, pitch his camp. And at no great distance was the monument of Sardanapalus, on which there was a marble figure putting together the fingers of its right hand, as if it were giving a fillip. And there was on it the following inscription in Assyrian characters—
And saw the bright rays of the genial sun,
I ate and drank and loved; and knew full well
[p. 849] The time that men do live on earth was brief,
And liable to many sudden changes,
Reverses, and calamities. Now others
Will have th' enjoyment of my luxuries,
Which I do leave behind me. For these reasons
I never ceased one single day from pleasure.
Sardanapalusby “this” meaning the fillip he was giving with his fingers.
The king, and son of Anacyndaraxes,
In one day built Anchiale and Tarsus.
Eat, drink, and love; the rest's not worth e'en this,—
But Sardanapalus was not the only king who was very luxurious, but so was also Androcotus the Phrygian. For he also used to wear a robe embroidered with flowers; and to adorn himself more superbly than a woman, as Mnaseas relates, in the third book of his History of Europe. But Clearchus, in the fifth book of his Lives, says that Sagaus the king of the Mariandyni used, out of luxury, to eat, till he arrived at old age, out of his nurse's mouth, that he might not have the trouble of chewing his own food; and that he never put his hand lower than his navel; on which account Aristotle, laughing at Xenocrates the Chalcedonian, for a similar preposterous piece of laziness, says—
His hands are clean, but sure his mind is not.And Ctesias relates that Annarus, a lieutenant of the king of Persia, and governor of Babylon, wore the entire dress and ornaments of a woman; and though he was only a slave of the king, there used to come into the room while he was at supper a hundred and fifty women playing the lyre and singing. And they played and sang all the time that he was eating. And Phoenix of Colophon, the poet, speaking of Ninus, in the first book of his Iambics, says— [p. 850]
There was a man named Ninus, as I hear,
King of Assyria, who had a sea
Of liquid gold, and many other treasures,
More than the whole sand of the Caspian sea.
He never saw a star in all his life,
But sat still always, nor did wish to see one;
He never, in his place among the Magi,
Roused the sacred fire, as the law bids,
Touching the God with consecrated wand;
He was no orator, no prudent judge,
He never learn'd to speak, or count a sum,
But was a wondrous man to eat and drink
And love, and disregarded all besides:
And when he died he left this rule to men,
Where Nineveh and his monument now stands:—
"Behold and hear, whether from wide Assyria
You come, or else from Media, or if
You're a Choraxian, or a long-hair'd native
Of the lake country in Upper India,
For these my warnings are not vain or false:
I once was Ninus, a live breathing man,
Now I am nothing, only dust and clay,
And all I ate, and all I sang and jested,
And all I loved. . . .
But now my enemies have come upon me,
They have my treasures and my happiness,
Tearing me as the Bacchæ tear a kid;
And I am gone, not taking with me gold,
Or horses, or a single silver chariot;
Once I did wear a crown, now I am dust.
But Theopompus, in the fifteenth book of his History of Philip, says that “Straton the king of Sidon surpassed all men in luxury and devotion to pleasure. For as Homer has represented the Phæacians as living feasting and drinking, and listening to harp-players and rhapsodists, so also did Straton pass the whole of his life; and so much the more devoted to pleasure was he than they, that the Phæacians, as Homer reports, used to hold their banquets in the company of their own wives and daughters; but Straton used to prepare his entertainments with flute-playing and harp-playing and lyre-playing women. And he sent for many courtesans from Peloponnesus, and for many musicians from Ionia, and for other girls from every part of Greece; some skilful in singing and some in dancing, for exhibitions of skill in which they had contests before himself and his friends; and with these women he spent a great deal of his time. He then, [p. 851] delighting in such a life as this, and being by nature a slave to his passions, was also especially urged on by rivalry with Nicocles. For he and Nicocles were always rivalling one another; each of them devoted all his attention to living more luxuriously and pleasantly than the other. And so they carried their emulation to such a height, as we have heard, that when either of them heard from his visitors what was the furniture of the other's house, and how great was the expense gone to by the other for any sacrifice, he immediately set to work to surpass him in such things. And they were anxious to appear to all men prosperous and deserving of envy. Not but what neither of them continued prosperous throughout the whole of their lives, but were both of them destroyed by violent deaths.” And Anaximenes, in his book entitled the Reverses of Kings, giving the same account of Straton, says that he was always endeavouring to rival Nicocles, who was the king of Salamis in Cyprus, and who was exceedingly devoted to luxury and debauchery, and that they both came to a violent end.
And in the first book of his History of the Affairs of Philip, Theopompus, speaking of Philip, says—“And on the third day he comes to Onocarsis, which was a strong place in Thrace, having a large grove kept in beautiful order, and full of every resource for living pleasantly, especially during the summer. For it was one of the places which had been especially selected by Cotys, who, of all the kings that ever lived in Thrace, was the most eager in his pursuit of pleasure and luxury. And going round all the country, wherever he saw any place shaded with trees and well watered with springs, he made it into a banqueting place. And going to them whenever he chose, he used to celebrate sacrifices to the Gods, and there he would stay with his lieutenants, being a very happy and enviable man, until he took it into his head to blaspheme Minerva, and to treat her with contempt.” And the historian goes on to say, that Cotys once prepared a feast, as if Minerva had married him; and prepared a bedchamber for her, and then, in a state of intoxication, he waited for the goddess. And being already totally out of his mind, he sent one of his body-guards to see whether the goddess had arrived at the bedchamber. And when he came there, and went back and reported that [p. 852] there was nobody there, he shot him and killed him. And he treated a second in the same way, until a third went, and on his return told him that the goddess had been a long time waiting for him. And this king, being once jealous of his wife, cut her up with his own hands, beginning at her legs.
But in the thirteenth book of his History of the Affairs of Philip, speaking of Chabrias the Athenian, he says —“But he was unable to live in the city, partly on account of his intemperance, and partly because of the extravagant habits of his daily life, and partly because of the Athenians. For they are always unfavourable to eminent men; on which account their most illustrious citizens preferred to live out of the city. For instance, Iphicrates lived in Thrace, and Conon in Cyprus, and Timotheus in Lesbos, and Chares at Sigeum, and Chabrias himself in Egypt.” And about Chares he says, in his forty-fifth book—"But Chares was a slow and stupid man, and one wholly devoted to pleasure. And even when he was engaged in his military expeditions, he used to take about with him female flute-players, and female harp-players, and a lot of common courtesans. And of the money which was contributed for the purposes of the war, some he expended on this sort of profligacy, and some he left behind at Athens, to be distributed among the orators and those who propose decrees, and on those private individuals who had actions depending. And for all this the Athenian populace was so far from being indignant, that for this very reason he became more popular than any other citizen; and naturally too: for they all lived in this manner, that their young men spent all their time among flute-players and courtesans; and those who were a little older than they, devoted themselves to gambling, and profligacy of that sort; and the whole people spent more money on its public banquets and entertainments than on the provision necessary for the well-doing of the state. But in the work of Theopompus, entitled, “Concerning the Money of which the Temple at Delphi was pillaged,” he says—“Chares the Athenian got sixty talents by means of Lysander. And with this money he gave a banquet to the Athenians in the market-place, celebrating a triumphal sacrifice in honour of their victory gained in the battle which [p. 853] took place against the foreign troops of Philip.” And these troops were commanded by Adæus, surnamed the Cock, con- cerning whom Heraclides the comic poet speaks in the following manner—
But when he caught the dunghill cock of Philip
Crowing too early in the morn, and straying,
He killed him; for he had not got his crest on.
And having killed this one, then Chares gave
A splendid banquet to the Athenian people;
So liberal and magnificent was he.
And Duris gives the same account.
But Idomeneus tells us that the Pisistratidæ also, Hippias and Hipparchus, instituted banquets and entertainments; on which account they had a vast quantity of horses and other articles of luxury. And this it was that made their government so oppressive. And yet their father, Pisistratus, had been a moderate man in his pleasures, so that he never stationed guards in his fortified places, nor in his gardens, as Theopompus relates in his twenty-first book, but let any one who chose come in and enjoy them, and take whatever he pleased. And Cimon afterwards adopted the same conduct, in imitation of Pisistratus. And Theopompus mentions Cimon in the tenth book of his History of the Affairs of Philip, saying—“Cimon the Athenian never placed any one in his fields or gardens to protect the fruit, in order that any of the citizens who chose might go in and pick the fruit, and take whatever they wanted in those places. And besides this, he opened his house to every one, and made a daily practice of providing a plain meal for a great number of people; and all the poor Athenians who came that way might enter and partake of it. He also paid great attention to all those who from day to day came to ask something of him; and they say that he used always to take about with him one or two young men bearing bags of money. And he ordered them to give money to whoever came to him to ask anything of him. And they say that he also often contributed towards the expense of funerals. And this too is a thing that he often did; whenever he met any citizen badly clad, he used to order one of the young men who were following him to change cloaks with him. And so by all these means he acquired a high reputation, and was the fist of all the citizens.” [p. 854] But Pisistratus was in many respects very oppressive; and some say that that statue of Bacchus which there is at Athens was made in his likeness.
And Heraclides of Pontus, in his treatise on Pleasure, says that Pericles, nicknamed the Olympian, after he got rid of his wife out of his house, and devoted himself to a life of pleasure, lived with Aspasia, the courtesan from Megara, and spent the greater part of his substance on her. And Themistocles, when the Athenians were not yet in such a state of intoxication, and had not yet begun to use courtesans, openly filled a chariot with prostitutes, and drove early in the morning through the Ceramicus when it was full. But Idomeneus has made this statement in an ambiguous manner, so as to leave it uncertain whether he means that he harnessed the prostitutes in his chariot like horses, or merely that he made them mount his four-horsed chariot. And Possis, in the third book of his History of the Affairs of Magnesia, says, that Themistocles, having been invested with a crowned magistracy in Magnesia, sacrificed to Minerva, and called the festival the Panathenæa. And he sacrificed also to Dionysius Choopotes, and celebrated the festival of the Choeis there. But Clearchus, in the first book of his treatise on Friendship, says that Themistocles had a triclinium of great beauty made for him, and said that he should be quite contented if he could fill that with friends.
And Chamæleon of Pontus, in his Essay on Anacreon, having quoted these lines—
And Periphoretus Artemonsays that Artemo derived this nickname from living luxuriously, and being carried about (περιφέρεσθαι) on a couch. For Anacreon says that he had been previously very poor, and then became on a sudden very luxurious, in the following verses—
Is loved by golden-hair'd Eurypyle,
Having before a poor berberium cloak,
And scanty cap, and his poor ears
With wooden earrings decorated,
And wearing round his ribs a newly-bought
Raw ox-hide, fitter for a case
For an old-fashion'd shield, this wretch
Artemon, who long has lived
With bakers' women, and the lowest of the low,
Now having found a new style of life,
[p. 855] Often thrusts his neck into the yoke,
Or beneath the spear doth crouch;
And many a weal he can display,
Mark'd on his back with well-deserved scourge;
And well pluck'd as to hair and beard.
But now he mounts his chariot, he the son
Of Cyca, and his golden earrings wears;
And like a woman bears
An ivory parasol o'er his delicate head.
But Satyrus, speaking of the beautiful Alcibiades, says, —“It is said that when he was in Ionia, he was more luxurious than the Ionians themselves. And when he was in Thebes he trained himself, and practised gymnastic exercises, being more of a Bœotian than the Thebans themselves. And in Thessaly he loved horses and drove chariots; being fonder of horses than the Aleuadæ: and at Sparta he practiced courage and fortitude, and surpassed the Lacedæmonians themselves. And again, in Thrace he out-drank even the Thracians themselves. And once wishing to tempt his wife, he sent her a thousand Darics in another man's name: and being exceedingly beautiful in his person, he cherished his hair the greater part of his life, and used to wear an extraordinary kind of shoe, which is called Alcibias from him. And whenever he was a choregus, he made a procession clad in a purple robe; and going into the theatre he was admired not only by the men, but also by the women: on which account Antisthenes, the pupil of Socrates, who often had seen Alcibiades, speaks of him as a powerful and manly man, and impatient of restraint, and audacious, and exceedingly beautiful through all his life. “And whenever he went on a journey he used four of the allied cities as his maid-servants. For the Ephesians used to put up a Persian tent for him; and the Chians used to find him food for his horses; and the people of Cyzicus supplied him with victims for his sacrifices and banquet; and the Lesbians gave him wine, and everything else which he wanted for his daily food. And when he came to Athens from Olympia, he offered up two pictures, the work of Aglaophon: one of which represented the priestesses of Olympia and Delphi crowning him; and in the other Nemea was sitting, and Alcibiades on her knees, appearing more beautiful than any of the women. And even when on military expeditions he wished to appear beautiful; accordingly he had a shield [p. 856] made of gold and ivory, on which was carved Love brandishing a thunderbolt as the ensign. And once having gone to supper at the house of Anytus, by whom he was greatly beloved, and who was a rich man, when one of the company who was supping there with him was Thrasyllus, (and he was a poor man,) he pledged Thrasyllus in half the cups which were set out on the side-board, and then ordered the servants to carry them to Thrasyllus's house; and then he very civilly wished Anytus good night, and so departed. But Anytus, in a very affectionate and liberal spirit, when some one said what an inconsiderate thing Alcibiades had done; 'No, by Jove,' said he, ' but what a kind and considerate thing; for when he had the power to have taken away everything, he has left me half.'”
And Lysias the orator, speaking of his luxury, says— “For Axiochus and Alcibiades having sailed to the Hellespont, married at Abydus, both of them marrying one wife, Medontias of Abydus, and both cohabited with her. After this they had a daughter, and they said that they could not tell whose daughter she was; and when she was old enough to be married, they both cohabited with her too; and when Alcibiades came to her, he said that she was the daughter of Axiochus, and Axiochus in his turn said she was the daughter of Alcibiades.” And he is ridiculed by Eupolis, after the fashion of the comic writers, as being very intemperate with regard to women; for Eupolis says in his Flatterers—
A. Let Alcibiades leave the women's rooms.And Pherecrates says— [p. 857]
B. Why do you jest. . . . . . . .
Will you not now go home and try your hand
On your own wife?
But after his banishment, having made the Athenians masters of the Hellespont, and having taken more than five thousand Peloponnesians prisoners, he sent them to Athens; and after this, returning to his country, he crowned the Attic triremes with branches, and mitres, and fillets. And fastening to his own vessels a quantity of ships which he had taken, with their beaks broken off, to the number of two hundred, and conveying also transports full of Lacedæmonian and Peloponnesian spoils and arms, he sailed into the Piræus: and the trireme in which he himself was, ran up to the very bars of the Piræus with purple sails; and when it got inside the harbour, and when the rowers took their oars, Chrysogonus played on a flute the trieric air, clad in a Persian robe, and Callippides the tragedian, clad in a theatrical dress, gave the word to the rowers. On account of which some one said with great wit—“Sparta could never have endured two Lysanders, nor Athens two Alcibiadeses.” But Alcibiades was imitating the Medism of Pausanias, and when he was staying with Pharnabazus, he put on a Persian robe, and learnt the Persian language, as Themistocles had done.
And Duris says, in the twenty-second book of his History,—“Pausanias, the king of Lacedæmon, having laid aside the national cloak of Lacedæmon, adopted the Persian dress. And Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily, adopted a theatrical robe and a golden tragic crown with a clasp. And Alexander, when he became master of Asia, also adopted the Persian dress. But Demetrius outdid them all; for the very shoes which he wore he had made in a most costly manner; for in its form it was a kind of buskin, made of most expensive purple wool; and on this the makers wove a great deal of golden embroidery, both before and behind; and his cloak was of a brilliant tawny colour; and, in short, a representation of the heavens was woven into it, having the stars and twelve signs of the Zodiac all wrought in gold; and his head-band was spangled all over with gold, binding on a purple broad-brimmed hat in such a manner that the outer fringes hung down the back. And when the Demetrian festival was celebrated at Athens, Demetrius himself was painted on the proscenium, sitting on the world.” And Nymphis of Heraclea, in the sixth book of his treatise on his Country, says—"Pausanias, who defeated Mardonius at Platæa, having transgressed the laws of Sparta, and given [p. 858] himself up to pride, when staying near Byzantium, dared to put an inscription on the brazen goblet which is there consecrated to the gods, whose temple is at the entrance of the strait, (and the goblet is in existence to this day,) as if he had dedicated it himself; putting this inscription on it, forgetting himself through his luxury and arrogance—
Pausanias, the general of broad Greece,
Offered this goblet to the royal Neptune,
A fit memorial of his deathless valour,
Here in the Euxine sea. He was by birth
A Spartan, and Cleombrotus's son,
Sprung from the ancient race of Hercules."
“Pharax the Lacedæmonian also indulged himself in luxury,” as Theopompus tells us in the fourteenth book of his History, “and he abandoned himself to pleasure in so dissolute and unrestrained a manner, that by reason of his intemperance he was much oftener taken for a Sicilian, than for a Spartan by reason of his country.” And in his fifty-second book he says that “Archidamus the Lacedæmonian, having abandoned his national customs, adopted foreign and effeminate habits; so that he could not endure the way of life which existed in his own country, but was always, by reason of his intemperance, anxious to live in foreign countries. And when the Tarentines sent an embassy about an alliance, he was anxious to go out with them as an ally; and being there, and having been slain in the wars, he was not thought worthy even of a burial, although the Tarentines offered a great deal of money to the enemy to be allowed to take up his body.” And Phylarehus, in the tenth book of his Histories, says that Isanthes was the king of that tribe of Thracians called Crobyzi, and that he surpassed all the men of his time in luxury; and he was a rich man, and very handsome. And the same historian tells us, in his twenty-second book, that Ptolemy the Second, king of Egypt, the most admirable of all princes, and the most learned and accomplished of men, was so beguiled and debased in his mind by his unseasonable luxury, that he actually dreamed that he should live for ever, and said that he alone had found out how to become immortal. And once, after he had been afflicted by the gout for many days, when at last he got a little better, and saw through his window-blinds some Egyptians dining by the river side, and eating whatever it might be that they had, and [p. 859] lying at random on the sand, “O wretched man that I am,” said he, “that I am not one of those men!”
Now Callias and his flatterers we have already sufficiently mentioned. But since Heraclides of Pontus, in his treatise on Pleasures, speaks of him, we will return to the subject and quote what he says:—"When first the Persians made an expedition against Greece, there was, as they say, an Eretrian of the name of Diomnestus, who became master of all the treasures of the general; for he happened to have pitched his tent in his field, and to have put his money away in some room of his house. But when the Persians were all destroyed, then Diomnestus took the money without any one being aware of it; but when the king of Persia sent an army into Eretria the second time, ordering his generals utterly to destroy the city, then, as was natural, all who were at all well off carried away their treasures. Accordingly those of the family of Diomnestus who were left, secretly removed their money to Athens, to the house of Hipponicus the son of Callias, who was surnamed Ammon; and when all the Eretrians had been driven out of their city by the Persians, this family remained still in possession of their wealth, which was great. So Hipponicus, who was the son of that man who had originally received the deposit, begged the Athenians to grant him a place in the Acropolis, where he might construct a room to store up all this money in, saying that it was not safe for such vast sums to remain in a private house. And the Athenians did grant him such a place; but afterwards, he, being warned against such a step by his friends, changed his mind. "Callias, therefore, became the master of all this money, and lived a life of pleasure, (for what limit was there to the flatterers who surrounded him, or to the troops of companions who were always about him? and what extravagance was there which he did not think nothing of?) However, his voluptuous life afterwards reduced him so low, that he was compelled to pass the rest of his life with one barbarian old woman for a servant, and he was in want of actual daily necessaries, and so he died. “But who was it who got rid of the riches of Nicias of Pergasa, or of Ischomachus? was it not Autoclees and Epiclees, who preferred living with one another, an who considered everything second to pleasure? and after they had [p. 860] squandered all this wealth, they drank hemlock together, and so perished.”
But, concerning the luxury of Alexander the Great, Ephippus the Olynthian, in his treatise on the Deaths of Alexander and Hephæstion, says that “he had in his park a golden throne, and couches with silver feet, on which he used to sit and transact business with his companions.” But Nicobule says, that “while he was at supper all the morris dancers and athletes studied to amuse the king; and at his very last banquet, Alexander, remembering an episode in the Andromeda of Euripides, recited it in a declamatory manner, and then drank a cup of unmixed wine with great eagerness, and compelled all the rest to do so too.” And Ephippus tells us that “Alexander used to wear even the sacred vestments at his entertainments; and sometimes he would wear the purple robe, and cloven sandals, and horns of Ammon, as if he had been the god; and sometimes he would imitate Diana, whose dress he often wore while driving in his chariot; having on also a Persian robe, but displaying above his shoulders the bow and javelin of the goddess. Sometimes also he would appear in the guise of Mercury; at other times, and indeed almost every day, he would wear a purple cloak, and a tunic shot with white, and a cap which had a royal diadem attached to it. And when he was in private with his friends he wore the sandals of Mercury, and the petasus on his head, and held the caduceus in his hand. Often also he wore a lion's skin, and carried a club, like Hercules.” What wonder then is it, if in our time the emperor Com- modus, when he drove abroad in his chariot, had the club of Hercules lying beside him, with a lion's skin spread at his feet, and liked to be called Hercules, when even Alexander, the pupil of Aristotle, represented himself as like so many gods, and even like Diana? And Alexander used to have the floor sprinkled with exquisite perfumes and with fragrant wine; and myrrh was burnt before him, and other kinds of incense; and all the bystanders kept silence, or spoke only words of good omen, out of fear. For he was a very violent man, with no regard for human life; for he appeared to be a man of a melancholic constitution. And on one occasion, at Ecbatana, when he was offering a sacrifice to Bacchus, and when everything was prepared in a most lavish manner for the banquet, . . . and [p. 861] Satrabates the satrap, feasted all the soldiers . . . . . “But when a great multitude was collected to see the spectacle,” says Ephippus, "there were on a sudden some arrogant proclamations published, more insolent even than Persian arrogance was wont to dictate. For, as different people were publishing different proclamations, and proposing to make Alexander large presents, which they called crowns, one of the keepers of his armoury, going beyond all previous flattery, having previously arranged the matter with Alexander, ordered the herald to proclaim that Gorgos, the keeper of the armoury, presents Alexander, the son of Ammon, with three thousand pieces of gold; and will also present him, when he lays siege to Athens, with ten thousand complete suits of armour, and with an equal number of catapults and all weapons required for the war.
And Chares, in the tenth book of his History of Alexander, says—"When he took Darius prisoner, he celebrated a marriage-feast for himself and his companions, having had ninety-two bedchambers prepared in the same place. There was a house built capable of containing a hundred couches; and in it every couch was adorned with wedding paraphernalia to the value of twenty minæ, and was made of silver itself; but his own bed had golden feet. And he also invited to the banquet which he gave, all his own private friends, and those he arranged opposite to himself and the other bridegrooms; and his forces also belonging to the army and navy, and all the ambassadors which were present, and all the other strangers who were staying at his court. And the apartment was furnished in the most costly and magnificent manner, with sumptuous garments and cloths, and beneath them were other cloths of purple, and scarlet, and gold. And, for the sake of solidity, pillars supported the tent, each twenty cubits long, plated all over with gold and silver, and inlaid with precious stones; and all around these were spread costly curtains embroidered with figures of animals, and with gold, having gold and silver curtain-rods. And the circumference of the court was four stadia. And the banquet took place, beginning at the sound of trumpet, at that marriage feast, and on other occasions whenever the king offered a solemn sacrifice, so that all the army knew it. [p. 862] And this marriage feast lasted five days. And a great num- ber both of barbarians and Greeks brought contributions to it; and also some of the Indian tribes did so. And there were present some wonderful conjurors—Scymnus of Tarentum, and Philistides of Syracuse, and Heraclitus of Mitylene; after whom also Alexis of Tarentum, the rhapsodist, exhibited his skill. There came also harp-players, who played without singing,—Cratinus of Methymne, and Aristonymus the Athenian, and Athenodorus the Teian. And Heraclitus the Tarentine played on the harp, accompanying himself with his voice, and so did Aristocrates the Theban. And of fluteplayers accompanied with song, there were present Dionysius of Heraclea, and Hyperbolus of Cyzicus. And of other fluteplayers there were the following, who first of all played the air called The Pythian, and afterwards played with the choruses,—Timotheus, Phrynichus, Caphesias, Diophantus, and also Evius the Chalcidian. And from this time forward, those who were formerly called Dionysio-colaces,3 were called Alexandro-colaces, on account of the extravagant liberality of their presents, with which Alexander was pleased. And there were also tragedians who acted,—Thessalus, and Athenodorus, and Aristocritus; and of comic actors there were Lycon, and Phormion, and Ariston. There was also Phasimelus the harp-player. And the crowns sent by the ambassadors and by other people amounted in value to fifteen thousand talents.
But Polycletus of Larissa, in the eighth book of his History, says that Alexander used to sleep on a golden couch, and that flute-playing men and women followed him to the camp, and that he used to drink till daybreak. And Clearchus, in his treatise on Lives, speaking of Darius who was dethroned by Alexander, says, “The king of the Persians offered prizes to those who could invent pleasures for him, and by this conduct allowed his whole empire and sovereignty to be subverted by pleasures. Nor was he aware that he was defeating himself till others had wrested his sceptre from him and had been proclaimed in his place.” And Phylarchus, in the twenty-third book of his History, and Agatharchides of Cnidus, in the tenth book of his History of Asia, say that the companions also of Alexander gave way to the most extravagant [p. 863] luxury. And one of them was a man named Agnon, who used to wear golden studs in his sandals and shoes. And Cleitus, who was surnamed The White, whenever he was about to transact business, used to converse with every one who came to him while walking about on a purple carpet. And Perdiccas and Craterus, who were fond of athletic exercises, had men follow them with hides fastened together so as to cover a place an entire stadium in extent; and then they selected a spot within the encampment which they had covered with these skins as an awning; and under this they practised their gymnastics. They were followed also by numerous beasts of burden, which carried sand for the use of the palæstra. And Leonnatus and Menelaus, who were very fond of hunting, had curtains brought after them calculated to enclose a space a hundred stadia in circumference, with which they fenced in a large space and then practised hunting within it. And as for the golden plane-trees, and the golden vine—having on it bunches of grapes made of emeralds and Indian carbuncles, and all sorts of other stones of the most costly ad magnificent description, under which the kings of Persia used often to sit when transacting business,—the expense of all this, says Phylarchus, was far less than the daily sums squandered by Alexander; for he had a tent capable of containing a hundred couches, and fifty golden pillars supported it. And over it were spread golden canopies wrought with the most superb and costly embroidery, to shade all the upper part of it. And first of all, five hundred Persian Melophori stood all round the inside of it, clad in robes of purple and apple-green; and besides them there were bowmen to the number of a thousand, some clad in garments of a fiery red, and others in purple; and many of them had blue cloaks. And in front of them stood five hundred Macedonian Argyraspides; and in the middle of the tent was placed a golden chair, on which Alexander used to sit and transact business, his body-guards standing all around. And on the outside, all round the tent, was a troop of elephants regularly equipped, and a thousand Macedonians, having Macedonian dresses; and then ten thousand Persians: and the number of those who wore purple amounted to five hundred, to whom Alexander gave this dress for them to wear. And though he had such a numerous [p. 864] retinue of friends and servants, still no one dared to approach Alexander of his own accord; so great was his dignity and the veneration with which they regarded him. And at that time Alexander wrote letters to the cities in Ionia, and to the Chians first of all, to send him a quantity of purple; for he wished all his companions to wear purple robes. And when his letter was read among the Chians, Theocritus the philosopher being present, said—
He fell by purple4 death and mighty fate.
And Posidonius, in the twenty-eighth book of his History, says that “Antiochus the king, who was surnamed Grypus, when he was celebrating the games at Daphne, gave a magnificent entertainment; at which, first of all, a distribution of entire joints took place, and after that another distribution of geese, and hares, and antelopes all alive. There were also,” says he, “distributed golden crowns to the feasters, and a great quantity of silver plate, and of servants, and horses, and camels. And every one was expected to mount a camel, and drink; and after that he was presented with the camel, and with all that was on the camel, and the boy who stood by it.” And in his fourteenth book, speaking of his namesake Antiochus, who made war upon Arsaces, and invaded Media, he says that "he made a feast for a great multitude every day; at which, besides the things which were consumed, and the heaps of fragments which were left, every one of the guests carried away with him entire joints of beasts, and birds, and fishes which had never been carved, all ready dressed, in sufficient quantities to fill a waggon. And after this they were presented with a quantity of sweetmeats, and chaplets, and crowns of myrrh and frankincense, with turbans as long as a man, made of strips of gold brocade.
But Clytus, the pupil of Aristotle, in his History of Miletus, says that “Polycrates, the tyrant of Samos, collected everything that was worth speaking of everywhere to gratify his luxury, having assembled dogs from Epirus, and goats from Scyros, and sheep from Miletus, and swine from Sicily.” [p. 865] And Alexis, in the third book of his Samian Annals, says that “Samos was adorned by Polycrates with the productions of many other cities; as he imported Molossian and Lacedæmonian dogs, and goats from Scyros and Naxos, and sheep from Miletus and Attica. He also,” says he, “sent for artists, promising them enormous wages. But before he became tyrant, having prepared a number of costly couches and goblets, he allowed any one the use of them who was prepping any marriage-feast or extraordinary entertainment.” And after hearing all these particulars we may well admire the tyrant, because it was nowhere written that he had sent for any women or boys from any other countries, although he was of a very amorous constitution, and was a rival in love of Anacreon the poet; and once, in a fit of jealousy, he cut off all the hair of the object of his passion. And Polycrates was the first man who called the ships which he had built Samians, in honour of his country. But Clearchus says that “Polycrates, the tyrant of the effeminate Samos, was ruined by the intemperance of his life, imitating the effeminate practices of the Lydians; on which account, in opposition to the place in Sardis called the beautiful Ancon, he prepared a place in the chief city of the Samians, called Laura; he made those famous, Samian flowers in opposition to the Lydian. And the Samian Laura was a narrow street in the city, full of common women, and of all kinds of food calculated to gratify intemperance and to promote enjoyment, with which he actually filled Greece. But the flowers of the Samians are the preeminent beauty of the men and women, and indeed of the whole city, at its festivals and banquets.” And these are the words of Clearchus. And I myself am acquainted with a narrow street in my native city of Alexandria, which to this very day is called the Happy Street, in which every apparatus of luxury used to be sold.
But Aristotle, in his treatise on Admirable and Wonderful Things, says that “Alcisthenes of Sybaris, out of luxury, had a garment prepared for him of such excessive expensive-ness that he exhibited it at Lacinium, at the festival of Juno, at which all the Italians assemble, and that of all the things which were exhibited that was the most admired.” And he says that “Dionysius the elder afterwards became master of [p. 866] it, and sold it to the Carthaginians for a hundred and twenty talents.” Polemo also speaks of it in his book entitled, A Treatise concerning the Sacred Garments at Carthage. But concerning Smindyrides of Sybaris, and his luxury, Herodotus has told us, in his sixth book, saying that he sailed from Sybaris to court Agariste, the daughter of Clisthenes the tyrant of Sicyon. “And,” says he, “there came from Italy Smindyrides, the son of Hippocrates, a citizen of Sybaris; who carried his luxury to the greatest height that ever was heard of among men. At all events he was attended by a thousand cooks and bird-catchers.” Timæus also mentions him in his seventh book. But of the luxury of Dionysius the younger, who was also tyrant of Sicily, an account is given by Satyrus the Peripatetic, in his Lives. For he says that he used to fill rooms holding thirty couches with feasters. And Clearchus, in the fourth book of his Lives, writes as follows:—“But Dionysius, the son of Dionysius, the cruel oppressor of all Sicily, when he came to the city of the Locrians, which was his metropolis, (for Doris his mother was a Locrian woman by birth,) having strewed the floor of the largest house in the city with wild thyme and roses, sent for all the maidens of the Locrians in turn; and then rolled about naked, with them naked also, on this layer of flowers, omitting no circumstance of infamy. And so, not long afterwards, they who had been insulted in this manner having got his wife and children into their power, prostituted them in the public roads with great insult, sparing them no kind of degradation. And when they had wreaked their vengeance upon them, they thrust needles under the nails of their fingers, and put them to death with torture. And when they were dead, they pounded their bones in mortars, and having cut up and distributed the rest of their flesh, they imprecated curses on all who did not eat of it; and in accordance with this unholy imprecation, they put their flesh into the mills with the flour, that it might be eaten by all those who made bread. And all the other parts they sunk in the sea. But Dionysius himself, at last going about as a begging priest of Cybele, and beating the drum, ended his life very miserably. We, therefore, ought to guard against what is called luxury, which is the ruin of a man's life; and we ought to think insolence the destruction of everything.” [p. 867]
But Diodorus Siculus, in his books On the Library, says that “the citizens of Agrigentum prepared for Gelon a very costly swimming-bath, being seven stadia in circumference” and twenty cubits deep; and water was introduced into it from the rivers and fountains, and it serve for a great pond to breed fish in, and supplied great quantities of fish for the luxury and enjoyment of Gelon. A great number of swans also," as he relates, “flew into it; so that it was a very beautiful sight. But afterwards the lake was destroyed by becoming filled with mud.” And Duris, in the tenth book of his History of Agathocles, says that near the city of Hip- ponium a grove is shown of extraordinary beauty, excellently well watered; in which there is also a place called the Horn of Amalthea; and that this grove was made by Gelon. But Silenus of Calatia, in the third book of his History of Sicily, says that near Syracuse there is a garden laid out in a most expensive manner, which is called Mythus, in which Hiero the king used to transact his business. And the whole country about Panormus,5 in Sicily, is called The Garden, because it is full of highly-cultivated trees, as Callias tells us in the eighth book of his History of Agathocles. And Posidonius, in the eighth book of his History, speaking of Damophilus the Sicilian, by whose means it was that the Servile war was stirred up, and saying that he was a slave to his luxury, writes as follows:—"He therefore was a slave to luxury and debauchery. And he used to drive through the country on a four-wheeled chariot, taking with him horses, and servants of great personal beauty, and a disorderly crowd of flatterers and military boys running around his chariot. And ultimately he, with his whole family, perished in a disgraceful manner, being treated with the most extreme violence and insult by his own slaves.
And Demetrius Phalereus, as Duris says in the sixteenth volume of his Histories, being possessed of a revenue of twelve hundred talents a-year, and spending a small portion of it on his soldiers, and on the necessary expenses of the state, squandered all the rest of it on gratifying his innate love of debauchery, having splendid banquets eve y day, and a great number of guests to feast with him. And in the prodigality of his expense in his entertainments he outdid even [p. 868] the Macedonians, and, at the same time, in the elegance of them, he surpassed the Cyprians and Phœnicians. And perfumes were sprinkled over the ground, and many of the floors in the men's apartments were inlaid with flowers, and were exquisitely wrought in other ways by the artists. There were also secret meetings with women, and other scenes more shameful still. And Demetrius, who gave laws to others, and who regulated the lives of others, exhibited in his own life an utter contempt of all law. He also paid great attention to his personal appearance, and dyed the hair of his head with a yellow colour, and anointed his face with rouge, and smeared himself over with other unguents also; for he was anxious to appear agreeable and beautiful in the eyes of all whom he met. And in the procession of the Dionysia, which he celebrated when he was archon at Athens, a chorus sang an ode of Siromen the Solensian, addressed to him, in which he was called, Like the Sun:—
And above all the noble princeAnd Carystius of Pergamus, in the third book of his Commentaries, says—“Demetrius Phalereus, when his brother Himeræus was put to death by Antipater, was himself staying with Nicanor; and he was accused of having sacrificed the Epiphaneia in honour of his brother. And after he became a friend of Cassander, he was very powerful. And at first his dinner consisted of a kind of pickle, containing olives from all countries, and cheese from the islands; but when he became rich, he bought Moschion, the most skilful of all the cooks and confectioners of that age. And he had such vast quantities of food prepared for him every day, that, as he gave Moschion what was left each day, he (Moschion) in two years purchased three detached houses in the city; and insulted free-born boys, and some of the wives of the most eminent of the citizens: and all the boys envied Theognis, with whom he was in love. And so important an honour was it considered to be allowed to come near Demetrius, that, as he one day had walked about after dinner near the Tripods, on all the following days all the most beautiful boys came together to that place, in the hopes of being seen by him.” [p. 869]
Demetrius, like the sun in face,
Honours you, Bacchus, with a holy worship.
And Nicolaus the Peripatetic, in the tenth book of his History, and again in the twentieth book, says that Lucullus, when he came to Rome and celebrated his triumph, and gave an account of the war against Mithridates, ran into the most unbounded extravagance, after having previously been very moderate; and was altogether the first guide to luxury, and the first example of it, among the Romans, having become master of the riches of two kings, Mithridates and Tigranes. And Sittius, also, was a man very notorious among the Romans for his luxury and effeminacy, as Rutilitius tells us; for as to Apicius, we have already spoken of him. And almost all historians relate that Pausanias and Lysander were very notorious for their luxury; on which account Agis said of Lysander, that Sparta had produced him as a second Pausanias. But Theopompus, in the tenth book of his History of the Affairs of Greece, gives exactly the contrary account of Lysander, saying that “he was a most laborious man, able to earn the goodwill of both private individuals and monarchs, being very moderate and temperate, and superior to all the allurements of pleasure; and accordingly, when he had become master of almost the whole of Greece, it will be found that he never in any city indulged in amatory excesses, or in unreasonable drinking parties and revels.”
But luxury and extravagance were so very much prac- tised among the ancients, that even Parrhasius the painter always wore a purple robe, and a golden crown on his head, as Clearchus relates, in his Lives: for he, being most immoderately luxurious, and also to a degree beyond what was becoming to a painter, laid claim, in words, to great virtue, and inscribed upon the works which were done by him—
Parrhasius, a most luxurious man,But some one else, being indignant at this inscription, wrote by the side of it, ῥαβδοδίαιτος (worthy of a stick). Parrhasius also put the following inscription on many of his works:—
And yet a follower of purest virtue,
Painted this work.
Parrhasius, a most luxurious man,[p. 870] He also boasted, in a way which no one could be indignant at, in the following lines:—
And yet a follower of purest virtue,
Painted this work: a worthy citizen
Of noble Ephesus. His father's name
Evenor was, and he, his lawful son,
Was the first artist in the whole of Greece.
This will I say, though strange it may appear,And once, at Samos, when he was contending with a very inferior painter in a picture of Ajax, and was defeated, when his friends were sympathising with him and expressing their indignation, he said that he himself cared very little about it, but that he was sorry for Ajax, who was thus defeated a second time. And so great was his luxury, that he wore a purple robe, and a white turban on his head; and used to lean on a stick, ornamented all round with golden fretted work: and he used even to fasten the strings of his sandals with golden clasps. However, as regarded his art, he was not churlish or ill-tempered, but affable and good-humoured; so that he sang all the time that he was painting, as Theophrastus relates, in his treatise on Happiness. But once he spoke in a marvellous strain, more like a quack, when he said, when he was painting the Hercules at Lindus, that the god had appeared to him in a dream, in that form and dress which was the best adapted for painting; on which account he inscribed on the picture—
That clear plain limits of this noble art
Have been discovered by my hand, and proved.
And now the boundary which none can pass
Is well defined, though nought that men can do
Will ever wholly escape blame or envy.
Here you may see the god as oft he stood
Before Parrhasius in his sleep by night.
We find also whole schools of philosophers which have openly professed to have made choice of pleasure. And there is the school called the Cyrenaic, which derives its origin from Aristippus the pupil of Socrates: and he devoted himself to pleasure in such a way, that he said that it was the main end of life; and that happiness was founded on it, and that happiness was at best but short-lived. And he, like the most debauched of men, thought that he had nothing to do either with the recollection of past enjoyments, or with the hope of future ones; but he judged of all good by the present alone, and thought that having enjoyed, and being about to enjoy, did not at all concern him; since the one case had no longer any existence, and the other did not yet exist and was necessarily uncertain: acting in this respect like thoroughly [p. 871] dissolute men, who are content with being prosperous at the present moment. And his life was quite consistent with his theory; for he spent the whole of it in all kinds of luxury and extravagance, both in perfumes, and dress, and women. Accordingly, he openly kept Lais as his mistress; and he delighted in all the extravagance of Dionysius, although he was often treated insultingly by him. Accordingly, Hegesander says that once, when he was assigned a very mean place at a banquet by Dionysius, he endured it patiently; and when Dionysius asked him what he thought of his present place, in comparison of his yesterday's seat, he said, “That the one was much the same as the other; for that one,” says he, “is a mean seat to-day, because it is deprived of me; but it was yesterday the most respectable seat in the room, owing to me: and this one to-day has become respectable, because of my presence in it; but yesterday it was an inglorious seat, as I was not present in it.” And in another place Hegesander says—“Aristippus, being ducked with water by Dionysius's servants, and being ridiculed by Antiphon for bearing it patiently, said, 'But suppose I had been out fishing, and got wet, was I to have left my employment, and come away? '” And Aristippus sojourned a considerable time in Aegina, indulging in every kind of luxury; on which account Xenophon says in his Memorabilia, that Socrates often reproved him, and invented the apologue of Virtue and Pleasure to apply it to him. And Aristippus said, respecting Lais, “I have her, and I am not possessed by her.” And when he was at the court of Diony- sius, he once had a quarrel with some people about a choice of three women. And he used to wash with perfumes, and to say that—
E'en in the midst of Bacchanalian revelsAnd Alexis, turning him into ridicule in his Galatea, represents one of the slaves as speaking in the following banner of one of his disciples:—
A modest woman will not be corrupted.
For this my master once did turn his thoughtsAnd Antiphanes, in his Antæus, speaking of the luxurious habits of the philosophers, says—
To study, when he was a stripling young,
And set his mind to learn philosophy.
And then a Cyrenean, as he calls himself,
Named Aristippus, an ingenious sophist,
And far the first of all the men of his time,
[p. 872] But also far the most intemperate,
Was in the city. Him my master sought,
Giving a talent to become his pupil:
He did not learn, indeed, much skill or wisdom,
But got instead a sad complaint on his chest.
My friend, now do you know who this old man
Is called By his look he seems to be a Greek.
His cloak is white, his tunic fawn-colour'd,
His hat is soft, his stick of moderate size,
His table scanty. Why need I say more,
I seem to see the genuine Academy.
And Aristoxenus the musician, in his Life of Archytas, represents ambassadors as having been sent by Dionysius the younger to the city of the Tarentines, among whom was Polyarchus, who was surnamed the Luxurious, a man wholly devoted to sensual pleasures, not only in deed, but in word and profession also. And he was a friend of Archytas, and not wholly unversed in philosophy; and so he used to come with him into the sacred precincts, and to walk with him and with his friends, listening to his lectures and arguments: and once, when there was a long dispute and discussion about the passions, and altogether about sensual pleasures, Polyarchus said—“I, indeed, my friends, have often considered the matter, and it has seemed to me that this system of the virtues is altogether a long way removed from nature; for nature, when it utters its own voice, orders one to follow pleasure, and says that this is the conduct of a wise man: but that to oppose it, and to bring one's appetites into a state of slavery, is neither the part of a wise man, nor of a fortunate man, nor indeed of one who has any accurate understanding of what the constitution of human nature really is. And it is a strong proof of this, that all men, when they have acquired any power worth speaking of, betake themselves to sensual pleasures, and think the power of indulging them the principal advantage to be gained from the possession of power, and everything else, so to say, as unimportant and superfluous. And we may adduce the example of the Persian king at present, and every other tyrant possessed of any power worth speaking of,—and in former times, the sovereigns of the Lydians and of the Medes,—and even in earlier times still, the tyrants of the Syrians behaved in the same manner; for [p. 873] all these men left no kind of pleasure unexplored: and it is even said that rewards were offered by the Persians to any one who was able to invent a new pleasure. And it was a very wise offer to make; for the nature of man is soon satiated with long-continued pleasures, even if they be of very exquisite nature. So that, since novelty has a very great effect in making a pleasure appear greater, we must not despise it, but rather pay great attention to it. And on this account it is that many different kinds of dishes have been invented, and many sorts of sweetmeats; and many discoveries have been made in the articles of incenses and perfumes, and clothes, and beds, and, above all, of cups and other articles of furniture. For all these things contribute some amount of pleasure, when the material which is admired by human nature is properly employed: and this appears to be the case with gold and silver, and with most things which are pleasing to the eye and also rare, and with all things which are elaborated to a high degree of perfection by manual arts and skill.”
And having discussed after this all the attendance with which the king of the Persians is surrounded, and what a number of servants he has, and what their different offices are, and also about his amorous indulgences, and also about the sweet perfume of his skin, and his personal beauty, and the way in which he lives among his friends, and the pleasing sights or sounds which are sought out to gratify him, he said that he considered “the king of Persia the happiest of all men now alive. For there are pleasures prepared for him which are both most numerous and most perfect in their kind. And next to him,” said he, “any one may fairly rank our sovereign, though he falls far short of the king of Persia. For this latter has all Asia to supply him with luxury, but the store which supplies Dionysius will seem very contemptible if compared with his. That, then, such a life as h s is worth struggling for, is plain from what has happened. For the Medes, after encountering the greatest dangers, derived the Syrians of the supremacy, for no other object except to possess themselves of the unrestrained licence of the Syria ns. And the Persians overthrew the Medes for the same reason, namely, in order to have an unrestrained enjoyment of sensual pleasures. And the lawgivers who wish the whole race of men to be on an equality, and that no citizens shall indulge in [p. 874] superfluous luxury, have made some species of virtue hold its head up. And they have written laws about contracts and other matters of the same kind, and whatever appeared to be necessary for political communion, and also with respect to dress, and to all the other circumstances of life, that they should be similar among all the citizens. And so, as all the lawgivers made war upon every kind of covetousness, then first the praises of justice began to be more thought of: and one of the poets spoke of—
The golden face of justice;and in another passage some one speaks of—
The golden eye of justice.And the very name of justice came to be accounted divine, so that in some countries there were altars erected and sacrifices instituted to Justice. And next to this they inculcated a respect for modesty and temperance, and called an excess in enjoyment covetousness; so that a man who obeyed the laws and was influenced by the common conversation of men in general, was necessarily moderate with respect to sensual pleasures.”
And Duris says, in the twenty-third volume of his History, that in ancient times the nobles had a positive fondness for getting drunk. On which account Homer represents Achilles as reproaching Agamemnon, and saying—
And when he is describing the death of the king, he makes Agamemnon say—Thou dog in forehead.
O thou whose senses are all dimm'd with wine,Iliad, i. 225.
pointing out that his death was partly caused by his fondness for drunkenness. Speusippus also, the relation of Plato, and his successor in his school, was a man very fond of pleasure. At all events Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily, in his letter to him blaming him for his fondness for pleasure, reproaches him also for his covetousness, and for his love of Lasthenea the Arcadian, who had been a pupil of Plato.
E'en in my mirth, and at the friendly feast,
O'er the full bowl the traitor stabb'd his guest;Odyss. ii. 418.
But not only did Aristippus and his followers embrace [p. 875] that pleasure which consists in motion, but also Epicurus and his followers did the same. And not to say anything of those sudden motions, and irritations, and titillations, ad also those prickings and stimuli which Epicurus often brigs forward, I will merely cite what he has said in his treatise on the End For he says—“For I am not able to perceive any good, if I take away all the pleasures which arise from flavours, and if I leave out of the question all the pleasures arising from amorous indulgences, and all those which are caused by hearing sweet sounds, and all those motions which are excited by figures which are pleasant to the sight.” And Metrodorus in his Epistles says—“My good natural philosopher Timocrates, reason which proceeds according to nature devotes its whole attention to the stomach.” And Epicurus says—“The origin and root of all good is the pleasure of the stomach; and all excessive efforts of wisdom have reference to the stomach.” And again, in his treatise concerning the End, he says— “You ought therefore to respect honour and the virtues, and all things of that sort, if they produce pleasure; but if they do not, then we may as well have nothing to do with them:” evidently in these words making virtue subordinate to pleasure, and performing as it were the part of a handmaid to it. And in another place he says—“I spit upon honour, and those who worship it in a foolish manner, when it produces no pleasure.”
Well then did the Romans, who are in every respect the most admirable of men, banish Alcius and Philiscus the Epicureans out of their city, when Lucius Postumius was consul, on account of the pleasures which they sought to introduce into the city. And in the same manner the Messenians by a public decree banished the Epicureans. But Antiochus the king banished all the philosophers out of his kingdom, writing thus—"King Antiochus to Phanias: We have written to you before, that no philosopher is to remain in the city, nor in the country. But we hear tat there is no small number of them, and that they do great injury to the young men, because you have done none of the things about which we wrote to you. As soon, therefore, as you receive this letter, order a proclamation to be made, that all the philosophers do at once depart from those place, and that as many young men as are detected in going to them, shall [p. 876] be fastened to a pillar and flogged, and their fathers shall be held in great blame. And let not this order be transgressed. But before Epicurus, Sophocles the poet was a great instigator to pleasure, speaking as follows in his Antigone6—
For when men utterly forsake all pleasure,
I reckon such a man no longer living,
But look upon him as a breathing corpse.
He may have, if you like, great wealth at home,
And go in monarch's guise; but if his wealth
And power bring no pleasure to his mind,
I would not for a moment deem it all
Worthy a moment's thought compared with pleasure.
“And Lycon the Peripatetic,” as Antigonus the Carystian says, "when as a young man he had come to Athens for the sake of his education, was most accurately informed about everything relating to banquets and drinking parties, and as to how much pay every courtesan required. But afterwards having become the chief man of the Peripatetic school, he used to entertain his friends at banquets with excessive arrogance and extravagance. For, besides the music which was provided at his entertainments, and the silver plate and coverlets which were exhibited, all the rest of the preparation and the superb character of the dishes was such, and the multitude of tables and cooks was so great, that many people were actually alarmed, and, though they wished to be admitted into his school, shrunk back, fearing to enter, as into a badly governed state, which was always burdening its citizens with liturgies and other expensive offices. For men were compelled to undertake the regular office of chief of the Peripatetic school. And the duties of this office were, to superintend all the novices for thirty days, and see that they conducted themselves with regularity. And then, on the last day of the month, having received nine obols from each of the novices, he received at supper not only all those who contributed their share, but all those also whom Lycon might chance to invite, and also all those of the elders who were diligent in attending the school; so that the money which was collected was not sufficient even for providing sufficient unguents and garlands. He also was bound to perform the sacrifices, and to become an overseer of the Muses. All which [p. 877] duties appeared to have but little connexion with reason or with philosophy, but to be more akin to luxury and parade. For if any people were admitted who were not able to spend money on these objects, they, setting out with a very scanty and ordinary choregia . . . . and the money was very much out of proportion . . . . . For Plato and Speusippus had not established these entertainments, in order that people might dwell upon the pleasures of the table from day-break, or for the sake of getting drunk; but in order that men might appear to honour the Deity, and to associate with one another in a natural manner; and chiefly with a view to natural relaxation and conversation; all which things afterwards became in their eyes second to the softness of their garments, and to their indulgence in their before-mentioned extravagance. Nor do I except the rest. For Lycon, to gratify his luxurious and insolent disposition, had a room large enough to hold twenty couches, in the most frequented part of the city, in Conon's house, which was well adapted for him to give parties in. And Lycon was a skilful and clever player at ball."
And of Anaxarchus, Clearchus the Solensian writes, in the fifth book of his Lives, in the following manner—“Anaxarchus, who was one of those who called themselves Eudæmonici, after he had become a rich man through the folly of those men who supplied him with means out of their abundance, used to have a naked full-grown damsel for his cup-bearer, who was superior in beauty to all her fellows; she, if one is to look at the real truth, thus exposing the intemperance of all those who employed her. And his baker used to knead the dough wearing gloves on his hands, and a cover on his mouth, to prevent any perspiration running off his hands, and also to prevent him from breathing on his cakes while he was kneading them.” So that a man might fairly quote to this wise philosopher the verses of Anaxilas the lyric poet—
And anointing one's skin with a gold-colour'd ointment,[p. 878]
And wearing long cloaks reaching down to the ground,
And the thinnest of slippers, and eating rich truffle
And the richest of cheese, and the newest of eggs;
And all sorts of shell-fish, and drinking strong wine
From the island of Chios, and having, besides,
A lot of Ephesian beautiful letters,
In carefully-sewn leather bags.
But how far superior to these men is Gorgias the Leontine; of whom the same Clearchus says, in the eighth book of his Lives, that because of the temperance of his life he lived nearly eighty years in the full possession of all his intellect and faculties. And when some one asked him what his system had been which had caused him to live with such comfort, and to retain such full possession of his senses, he said, “I have never done anything merely for the sake of pleasure.” But Demetrius of Byzantium, in the fourth book of his treatise on Poems, says—“Gorgias the Leontine, being once asked by some one what was the cause of his living more than a hundred years, said that it was because he had never done anything to please any one else except himself.” And Ochus, after he had had a long enjoyment of kingly power, and of all the other things which make life pleasant, being asked towards the close of his life by his eldest son, by what course of conduct he had preserved the kingly power for so many years, that he also might imitate it; replied, “By behaving justly towards all men and all gods.” And Carystius of Pergamus, in his Historical Commentaries, says—“Cephisodorus the Theban relates that Polydorus the physician of Teos used to live with Antipater; and that the king had a common kind of coarse carpet worked in rings like a counterpane, on which he used to recline; and brazen bowls and only a small number of cups; for that he was a man fond of plain living and averse to luxury.”
But the story which we have of Tithonus represents him as a person sleeping from daybreak to sunset, so that his appetites scarcely awakened him by evening. On which account he was said to sleep with Aurora, because he was so wholly enslaved by his appetites. And as he was at a later period of life prevented from indulging them by old age, and being wholly dependent on them. . . . And Melanthius, stretching out his neck, was choked by his enjoyments, being a greater glutton than the Melanthius of Ulysses. And many other men have destroyed their bodily strength entirely by their unreasonable indulgence; and some have become inordinately fat; and others have become stupid and insensible by reason of their inordinate luxury. Accordingly, Nymphis of Heraclea, in the second book of his History of Heraclea, says —“Dionysius the son of Clearchus, who was the first tyrant [p. 879] of Heraclea, and who was himself afterwards tyrant of his country, grew enormously fat without perceiving it, owing to his luxury and to his daily gluttony; so the on account of his obesity he was constantly oppressed by difficulty of breathing and a feeling of suffocation. On which account his physicians ordered thin needles of an exceedingly great length to be made, to be run into his sides an chest whenever he fell into a deeper sleep than usual. And up to a certain point his flesh was so callous by reason of the fat, that it never felt the needles; but if ever they touched a part that was not so overloaded, then he felt them, and was awakened by them. And he used to give answers to people who came to him, holding a chest in front of his body so as to conceal all the rest of his person, and leave only his face visible; and in this condition he conversed with these who came to him.” And Menander also, who was a person as little given to evil-speaking as possible, mentions him in his Fishermen, introducing some exiles from Heraclea as saying—
For a fat pig was lying on his face;and in another place he says—
He gave himself to luxury so wholly,and again he says—
That he could not last long to practise it;
Forming desires for myself, this deathAnd he died when he was fifty-five years of age, of which he had been tyrant thirty-three,—being superior to all the tyrants who had preceded him in gentleness and humanity.
Does seem the only happy one,—to grow
Fat in my heart and stomach, and so lie
Flat on my back, and never say a word,
Drawing my breath high up, eating my fill,
And saying, “Here I waste away with pleasure.”
And Ptolemy the Seventh, king of Egypt was a man of this sort, the same who caused himself to be styled Euergetes,7 but who was called Cacergetes by the Alexandrians, Accordingly, Posidonius the Stoic, who went with Scipio Africanus when he was sent to Alexandria, and w o there saw this Ptolemy, writes thus, in the seventh book of his History, —But owing to his luxury his whole body was eaten up with fat, and with the greatness of his belly, which was so large that no one could put his arms all round it; and he wore [p. 880] over it a tunic which reached down to his feet, having sleeves which reached to his wrists, and he never by any chance walked out except on this occasion of Scipio's visit." And that this king was not averse to luxury, he tells us when he speaks of himself, relating, in the eighth book of his Commentaries, how he was priest of Apollo at Cyrene, and how he gave a banquet to those who had been priests before him; writing thus:—“The Artemitia is the great festival of Cyrene, on which occasion the priest of Apollo (and that office is one which lasts a year) gives a banquet to all those who have been his predecessors in the office; and he sets before each of them a separate dish. And this dish is an earthenware vessel, holding about twenty artabæ,8 in which there are many kinds of game elaborately dressed, and many kinds of bread, and of tame birds, and of sea-fish, and also many species of foreign preserved meats and pickled-fish. And very often some people also furnish them with a handsome youth as an attendant. But we ourselves omitted all this, and instead we furnished them with cups of solid silver, each being of as much value as all the things which we have just enumerated put together; and also we presented each man with a horse properly harnessed, and a groom, and gilt trappings; and we invited each man to mount his horse and ride him home.” His son Alexander also became exceedingly fat, the one, I mean, who put his mother to death who had been his partner in the kingdom. Accordingly Posidonius, in the forty-seventh book of his History, mentions him in the following terms:—“But the king of Egypt being detested by the multitude, but flattered by the people whom he had about him, and living in great luxury, was not able even to walk, unless he went leaning on two friends; but for all that he would, at his banquets, leap off from a high couch, and dance barefoot with more vigour than even those who made dancing their profession.”
And Agatharchides, in the sixteenth book of his History of Europe, says that Magas, who was king of Cyrene for fifty years, and who never had any wars, but spent all his time in luxury, became, towards the end of his life, so im- [p. 881] mensely bulky and burdensome to himself, that he was at last actually choked by his fat, from the inactivity of his body, and the enormous quantity of food which he consumed. But among the Lacedæmonians, the same man relates, in his twenty-seventh book, that it is thought a proof of no ordinary infamy if any one is of an unmanly appearance, or if any one appears at all inclined to have a large belly; as the young men are exhibited naked before the ephori every ten days. And the ephori used every day to take notice both of the clothes and bedding of the young men; and very properly. For the cooks at Lacedæmon were employed solely on dressing meat plainly, and on nothing else. And in his twenty-seventh book, Agatharchides says that the Lacedæmonians brought Nauclides, the son of Polybiades, who was enormously fat in his body, and who had become of a vast size through luxury, into the middle of the assembly; and then, after Lysander had publicly reproached him as an effeminate voluptuary, they nearly banished him from the city, and threatened him that they would certainly do so if he did not reform his life; on which occasion Lysander said that Agesilaus also, when he was in the country near the Hellespont, making war against the barbarians, seeing the Asiatics very expensively clothed, but utterly useless in their bodies, ordered all who were taken prisoners, to be stripped naked and sold by the auctioneer; and after that he ordered their clothes to be sold without them; in order that the allies, knowing that they had to fight for a great prize, and against very contemptible men, might advance with greater spirit against their enemies. And Python the orator, of Byzantium, as Leon, his fellow-citizen, relates, was enormously fat; and once, when the Byzantians were divided against one another in seditious quarrels, he, exhorting his fellow-citizens to unanimity, said—“You see, my friends, what a size my body is; but I have a wife who is much fatter than I am; now, when we are both agreed, one small bed is large enough for both of us; but when we quarrel, the whole house is not big enough for us.”
How much better, then, is it, my good friend Timocrates, to be poor and thinner than even those men whom Hermippus mentions in his Cercopes, than to be enormously rich, and like that whale of Tanagra, as the before mentioned [p. 882] men were! But Hermippus uses the following language, addressing Bacchus on the present occasion—
For poor men now to sacrifice to youAnd Aristophanes, in his Gerytades, gives a list of the following people as very thin, who, he says, were sent as ambassadors by the poets on earth down to hell to the poets there, and his words are—
But maim'd and crippled oxen; thinner far
Than e'en Thoumantis or Leotrophides.
A. And who is this who dares to pierce the gatesAnd presently afterwards he says—
Of lurid darkness, and the realms o' the dead?
B. We're by unanimous agreement chosen,
(Making the choice in solemn convocation,)
One man from each department of our art,
Who were well known to be frequenters of the Shades,
As often voluntarily going thither.
A. Are there among you any men who thus
Frequent the realms of Pluto?
B. Aye, by Jove,
And plenty; just as there are men who go
To Thrace and then come back again. You know
The whole case now.
A. And what may be their names?
First, there's Sannyrion, the comic poet;
Then, of the tragic chori, Melitus;
And of the Cyclic bards, Cinesias.
On what slight hopes did you then all rely!And Strattis also mentions Sannyrion, in his Men fond of Cold, saying—
For if a fit of diarrhea came
Upon these men, they'd all be carried off.
The leathern aid of wise Sannyrion.And Sannyrion himself speaks of Melitus, in his play called Laughter, speaking as follows—
Melitus, that carcase from Leanæum rising.
And Cinesias was in reality an exceedingly tall and exceedingly thin man; on whom Strattis wrote an entire play, calling him the Phthian Achilles, because in his own poetry he was constantly using the word φθιῶτα. And accordingly, he, playing on his appearance, continually addresses him— φιλύρινος κινησίας, because he took a plank of linden wood [p. 883] (φιλύρα), and fastened it to his waist under his girdle, in order to avoid stooping, because of his great height and extreme thin, ness. But that Cinesias was a man of delicate health, and badly off in other respects, we are told by Lysias the orator, in his oration inscribed, “For Phanias accused of illegal Practices,” in which he says that he, having abandoned his regular profession, had taken to trumping up false accusations against people, and to making money by such means. And that he means the poet here, and no one else, is plain from the fact that he shows also that he had been attacked by the comic poets for impiety. And he also, in the oration itself, shows that he was a person of that character. And the words of the orator are as follows:—“But I marvel that you are not indignant at such a man as Cinesias coming forward in aid of the laws, whom you all know to be the most impious of all men, and the greatest violater of the laws that has ever existed. Is not he the man who has committed such offences against the gods as all other men think it shameful even to speak of, though you hear the comic poets mention such actions of his every year? Did not Apollophanes, and Mystalides, and Lysitheus feast with him, selecting one of the days on which it was not lawful to hold a feast, giving themselves the name of Cacodæmonistæ,9 instead of Numeniastæ, a name indeed appropriate enough to their fortunes Nor, indeed, did it occur to them that they were really doing what that name denotes; but they acted in this manner to show their contempt for the gods and for our laws. And accordingly, each of those men perished, as it was reasonable to expect that such men should. “But this man, with whom you are all acquainted, the gods have treated in such a manner, that his very enemies would rather that he should live than die, as an example to all other men, that they may see that the immortal Gods do not postpone the punishment due to men who behave insolently towards their Deity, so as to reserve it for their children; but that they destroy the men themselves in a miserable manner, inflicting on them greater and more terrible calamities and diseases than on any other men whatever. For to die, or to be afflicted with sickness in an ordinary manner, is the [p. 884] common lot of all of us; but to be in such a condition as they are reduced to, and to remain a long time in such a state, and to be dying every day, and yet not be able to end one's life, is a punishment allotted to men who act as this man has acted, in defiance of all human and divine law.” And this orator used this language respecting Cinesias.
Philetas also, the Coin poet, was a very thin man; so that, by reason of the leanness of his body, he used to wear balls made of lead fastened to his feet, to prevent himself from being blown over by the wind. And Polemo, surnamed Periegetes, in his treatise on Wonderful People and Things, says that Archestratus the soothsayer, being taken prisoner by the enemy, and being put into the scale, was found to weigh only one obol, so very thin was he. The same man also relates that Panaretus never had occasion to consult a physician, but that he used to be a pupil of Arcesilaus the philosopher; and that he was a companion of Ptolemy Euergetes, receiving from him a salary of twelve talents every year. And he was the thinnest of men, though he never had any illness all his life. But Metrodorus the Scepsian, in the second book of his treatise on the Art of Training, says that Hipponax the poet was not only very diminutive in person, but also very thin; and that he, nevertheless, was so strong in his sinews, that, among other feats of strength, he could throw an empty oil cruise an extraordinary distance, although light bodies are not easy to be propelled violently, because they cannot cut the air so well. Philippides, also, was extremely thin, against whom there is an oration extant of Hyperides the orator, who says that he was one of those men who governed the state. And he was very insignificant in appearance by reason of his thinness, as Hyperides has related. And Alexis, in his Thesprotians, said—
O Mercury, sent by the gods above,And Aristophon, in his play called Plato, says—
You who've obtained Philippides by lot;
And you, too, eye of darkly-robed night.
A. I will within these three days make this manAnd Menander, in his Passion, says— [p. 885]
Thinner than e'en Philippides.
B. How so?
Can you kill men in such a very short time?
If hunger should attack your well-shaped person,And the word πεφιλιππιδῶσθαι was used for being extremely thin, as we find in Alexis; who, in his Women taking Mandragora, says—
'Twould make you thinner than Philippides.
A. You must be ill. You are, by Jove, the veryAt all events, it is much better to look like that, than to be like the man of whom Antiphanes in his Aeolus says—
Leanest of sparrows—a complete Philippides (πεφιλιππίδωσαι).
B. Don't tell me such strange things: I'm all but dead.
A. I pity your sad case.
This man then, such a sot and glutton is he,And Heraclides of Pontus, in his treatise on Pleasure, says that Dinias the perfumer gave himself up to love because of his luxury, and spent a vast sum of money on it; and when, at last, he failed in his desires, out of grief he mutilated himself, his unbridled luxury bringing him into this trouble.
And so enormous is his size of body,
Is called by all his countrymen the Bladder.
But it was the fashion at Athens to anoint even the feet of those men who were very luxurious with ointment, a custom which Cephisodorus alludes to in his Trophonius—
Then to anoint my body go and buyAnd Eubulus, in his Sphingocarion, says—
Essence of lilies, and of roses too,
I beg you, Xanthias; and also buy
For my poor feet some baccaris.
. . . . Lying full softly in a bed-chamber;But the author of the Procris gives an account of what care ought to be taken of Procris's dog, speaking of a dog as if he were a man—
Around him were most delicate cloaks, well suited
For tender maidens, soft, voluptuous;
Such as those are, who well perfumed and fragrant
With amaracine oils, do rub my feet.
A. Strew, then, soft carpets underneath the dog,[p. 886] And Antiphanes, in his Alcestis, represents some one as anointing his feet with oil; but in his Mendicant Priest of Cybele, he says—
And place beneath cloths of Milesian wool;
And put above them all a purple rug.
B. Phœbus Apollo!
A. Then in goose's milk
Soak him some groats.
B. O mighty Hercules!
A. And with Megallian oils anoint his feet.
He bade the damsel take some choice perfumesAnd in his Zacynthus he says—
From the altar of the goddess, and then, first,
Anoint his feet with it, and then his knees:
But the first moment that the girl did touch
His feet, he leaped up.
Have I not, then, a right to be fond of women,And in his Thoricians he says—
And to regard them all with tender love,
For is it not a sweet and noble thing
To be treated just as you are; and to have
One's feet anointed by fair delicate hands?
He bathes completely-but what is't he does?And Anaxandrides, in his Protesilaus, says—
He bathes his hands and feet, and well anoints them
With perfume from a gold and ample ewer.
And with a purple dye he smears his jaws
And bosom; and his arms with oil of thyme;
His eyebrows and his hair with marjoram;
His knees and neck with essence of wild ivy.
Ointment from Peron, which this fellow soldAnd Teleclides, in his Prytanes, alludes to the lives of the citizens, even in the time of Themistocles, as having been very much devoted to luxury. And Cratinus in his Chirones, speaking of the luxury of the former generations, says—
But yesterday to Melanopus here,
A costly bargain fresh from Egypt, which
Anoints to day Callistratus's feet.
There was a scent of delicate thyme besides,
And roses too, and lilies by my ear;
And in my hands I held an apple, and.
A staff, and thus I did harangue the people.
And Clearchus the Solensian, in his treatise on Love Matters, says—“Why is it that we carry in our hands flowers, and apples, and things of that sort? Is it that by our delight in these things nature points out those of us who have a desire for all kinds of beauty? Is it, therefore, as a kind of specimen of beauty that men carry beautiful things in their hands, and take delight in them? Or do they carry them about for two objects? For by these means the beginning of good fortune, and an indication of one's wishes, is to a [p. 887] certain extent secured; to those who are asked for them, by their being addressed, and to those who give them, because they give an intimation beforehand, that they must give of their beauty in exchange. For a request for beautiful flowers and fruits, intimates that those who receive them are prepared to give in return the beauty of their persons. Perhaps also people are fond of those things, and carry them about them in order to comfort and mitigate the vexation which arises from the neglect or absence of those whom they love. For by the presence of these agreeable objects, the desire for those persons whom we love is blunted; unless, indeed, we may rather say that it is for the sake of personal ornament that people carry those things, and take delight in them, just as they wear anything else which tends to ornament. For not only those people who are crowned with flowers, but those also who carry them in their hands, find their whole appearance is improved by them. Perhaps also, people carry them simply because of their love for any beautiful object. For the love of beautiful objects shows that we are inclined to be fond of the productions of the seasons. For the face of spring and autumn is really beautiful, when looked at in their flowers and fruits. And all persons who are in love, being made, as it were, luxurious by their passion, and inclined to admire beauty, are softened by the sight of beauty of any sort. For it is something natural that people who fancy that they themselves are beautiful and elegant, should be fond of flowers; on which account the companions of Proserpine are represented as gathering flowers. And Sappho says—
I saw a lovely maiden gathering flowers.
But in former times men were so devoted to luxury, that they dedicated a temple to Venus Callipyge on this account. A certain countryman had two beautiful daughters; and they once, contending with one another, went into the public roads, disputing as they went, which had the most beautiful buttocks. And as a young man was passing, who had an aged father, they showed themselves to hi also. And he, when he had seen both, decided in favour of the elder; and falling in love with her, he returned into the city and fell ill, and took to his bed, and related what had happened to his brother, who was younger than he; and he also, going into the fields and seeing the damsels himself, fell in love with the [p. 888] other. Accordingly, their father, when with all his exhortations he could not persuade his sons to think of a higher marriage, brings these damsels to them out of the fields, having persuaded their father to give them to him, and marries them to his sons. And they were always called the καλλίπυγοι; as Cercidas of Megalopolis says in his Iambics, in the following line—
There was a pair of καλλίπυγοι womenSo they, having now become rich women, built a temple to Venus, calling the goddess καλλίπυγος, as Archelaus also relates in his Iambics. And that the luxury of madness is exceedingly great is very pleasantly argued by Heraclides of Pontus, in his treatise on Pleasure, where he says—“Thrasylaus the Aexonensian, the son of Pythodorus, was once afflicted with such violent madness, that he thought that all the vessels which came to the Piræus belonged to him. And he entered them in his books as such; and sent them away, and regulated their affairs in his mind, and when they returned to port he received them with great joy, as a man might be expected to who was master of so much wealth. And when any were lost, he never inquired about them, but he rejoiced in all that arrived safe; and so he lived with great pleasure. But when his brother Crito returned from Sicily, and took him and put him into the hands of a doctor, and cured him of his madness, he himself related his madness, and said that he had never been happier in his life; for that he never felt any grief, but that the quantity of pleasure which he experienced was something unspeakable.”